Crypto investors keen on NZ as experts urge Government not to curtail 'once in a generation' economic opportunity

Kiwi crypto-experts are warning Parliament to not over-regulate digital currencies and tokens, because it could curtail huge economic opportunity.

Newshub can reveal overseas investors are looking to set up crypto-mining operations here while locals are making millions off non-fungible tokens (NFTs). 

Think of it like digital artwork. Joshua Sagar makes NFTs to be auctioned online, all which sitting in his robe in his home in Christchurch. 

Since 8am on Sunday morning, he's sold $1.2 million-worth.

"We sell them for 0.69 ethereum, so the price fluctuates, but roughly US$250," he explains.

NFTs and cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and Bitcoin are booming in New Zealand. Janine Grainger runs New Zealand's biggest crypto exchange - EasyCrypto - and says it has turned over $1 billion-worth of sales in the last year alone.

Her submission to the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee's crypto inquiry, warns regulators not to stifle progress. 

"This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity - and I don't say that lightly - to really embrace an industry that has massive economic opportunity," she said.

That opportunity has knocked on lawyer James Cochrane's door. Cochrane, a partner at law firm Stace Hammond, says he's received numerous enquiries from investors, including some overseas, who want to set up crypto-mining operations in New Zealand - but they need convincing. 

"They have concerns about the uncertainty around the regulatory environment," Cochrane explains.

The mining of crypto like Bitcoin is environmentally controversial because so much power is soaked up by computers to create it. 

But with plenty of renewable energy here, it's an opportunity experts want the Government to consider. 

"The environment should be welcoming and open minded so these business opportunities aren't lost," says Cochrane.

They're urging Parliament to not pull the plug.