Miami Mayor Says City Employees Should Be Able To Take Their Salaries In Bitcoin
Miami wants to overtake Silicon Valley as the most Bitcoin-friendly place in the U.S. Miami Mayor Says City Employees Should Be Able To Take Their Salaries In Bitcoin
Miami city employees could soon choose to get their salaries paid in Bitcoin rather than USD. In an interview with Forbes, Mayor Francis Suarez said tangible paths to expand Bitcoin’s adoption throughout the city included enabling city employee salaries to be paid in BTC.
“The City of Miami believes in Bitcoin,” Suarez said, adding that he’s “working day and night to turn Miami into a hub for crypto innovation.”
Major figures in the cryptocurrency world have responded positively to the idea, with Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey calling it “smart” on Twitter.
— jack (@jack) February 2, 2021
Gemini co-founder Tyler Winklevoss stated that the mayor is “leading the way for governments and Bitcoin.”
Mayor Suarez told Forbes that due to the rise in crypto’s popularity among citizens, he wants to do everything he can to make Miami a Bitcoin-friendly city.
Other proposals include allowing local fees and taxes to be paid in Bitcoin and certain other cryptocurrencies, as well as investing some of the city’s treasury into Bitcoin, following Microstrategy’s example.
Although he isn’t sure of specific amounts, Suarez explained that the treasury investment would be structured as a public-private partnership, with the private partners receiving some of the rewards for alleviating some of the risks.
He also revealed that he’s also considering financing his reelection campaign in Bitcoin. He isn’t the first to turn to Bitcoin to help fund political campaigns with Democrat Andrew Yang, California U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, Minnesota U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer, and Libertarian Lara Loomer among U.S. politicians who have already accepted cryptocurrencies in past campaigns.
The mayor believes Bitcoin will be the “biggest story for the next few years.”
Late last year the mayor called Bitcoin a “stable investment” during an “incredibly unstable year.” Last week, he uploaded Bitcoin’s whitepaper onto the government’s website saying:
“The City of Miami believes in Bitcoin and I’m working day and night to turn Miami into a hub for crypto innovation.”
The mayor told Forbes that he has reached out to other states and jurisdictions, including Caitlin Long in Wyoming and Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis to help drive Bitcoin-friendly changes in Florida’s legislature.
These efforts are part of the city’s push to be the next major tech hub in the U.S. with plans to grow innovation and tech growth in the next few years.
Should these actions take effect, Miami’s 450,000 citizens may be encouraged to start transacting in Bitcoin on a regular basis, with the potential for this to spread to the rest of Florida’s 21.5 million residents. It would also make the city more attractive for blockchain-related tech companies and events.
Major crypto conference Bitcoin 2021 announced earlier today it was moving from Los Angeles to Miami in June this year.
Although Miami may be the first U.S. city to offer employees salaries in Bitcoin, other companies have also been exploring this. Last week, Cointelegraph reported that software development services provider Sequoia Holdings, based in Virginia, is offering employees the ability to sacrifice a portion of their salary to invest in either Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), or Ether (ETH).
Miami Mayor Aiming For ‘The Most Progressive Crypto Laws’
“We want to make sure that we believe that if all things are equal, we win,” said Mayor Francis Suarez.
Francis Suarez, who has served as the mayor of Miami since 2017, wants to make the city the most attractive in the United States for those in the crypto and blockchain industry.
In an interview with Forbes published Sunday, Suarez said lawmakers in Miami were looking into the policies of crypto-friendly areas like Wyoming and New York in an effort to promote regulatory incentives for crypto and blockchain in Florida.
“[Miami is] making sure that we have the most progressive crypto laws,” said Suarez. “We want to make sure that we believe that if all things are equal, we win. So, we just want to equalize the playing field. We want to make sure that nobody has an advantage over us based on laws that are easily changeable.”
Mayor Suarez did not describe the race to be the regulatory winner as a fight between lawmakers in other jurisdictions. Rather, he gave Wyoming “kudos for being smart” in attracting crypto firms, but added that “every city in America and in the world should be trying to grow its technology ecosystem.”
“We’re working on making sure that our incentives are in place and that our legislation promotes crypto and blockchain and is forward-thinking.”
The mayor has already made several bullish statements on Bitcoin (BTC) and crypto in recent weeks, including having Miami consider letting city employees to get paid in BTC rather than U.S. dollars. He also proposed allowing Miami residents to pay for local fees and taxes using crypto as well as investing some of the city’s treasury into Bitcoin, a task he called “the hardest” of the three ideas.
He has already spoken with a few high-profile figures in the crypto community including a meeting with Gemini co-founders Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss. Earlier this month, Tyler said that the mayor is “leading the way for governments and Bitcoin.”
Mayor Suarez did not provide a timeline as to when these actions may take effect for Miami’s 450,000 residents, but some in the crypto community have seemingly taken notice. Last week, Bitcoin 2021 announced it would be moving from Los Angeles to Miami for its June crypto conference.
Miami Mayor Who Backs Bitcoin Wants City To Hold Crypto Assets
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said he is working on a resolution to add Bitcoin to the city’s balance sheet.
He said the matter would be addressed at a city commission meeting on Thursday, according to a comment on Twitter in response to another tweet suggesting the time had come.
Suarez has been vocal about how the the city should allow certain types of Bitcoin transactions and invest in the cryptocurrency, and this resolution would mark the first concrete step. It comes after Tesla Inc. announced it had invested $1.5 billion in Bitcoin.
Suarez, the mayor of a city of about 454,000, spoke with Tesla founder Elon Musk on Friday about a different matter: Musk’s desire for his Boring Co. to build a tunnel under the South Florida city.
Miami Council Supports Mayor’s Move To Offer City Worker Salaries In Bitcoin
The City Commission of Miami is now looking into the feasibility of allowing Miami residents to pay taxes and receive salaries in Bitcoin.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has proposed an official resolution that would see Bitcoin (BTC) become an acceptable payment instrument in various parts of the city’s administration.
Announcing the news on Twitter, the Mayor said that the city commission has supported the resolution, and is now taking next steps:
“I wanna thank the city of Miami commissioners for supporting my resolution, which directs a city manager after analysis to procure a vendor to be able to offer our employees to get a percentage of their salary in Bitcoin; allows our residents to pay for fees in Bitcoin.”
The resolution would also put a proposition before the state legislature that, if successful, would see Bitcoin as an acceptable investment for municipal funds.
Suarez said, “It’s wonderful to be a very crypto-forward city, and I wanna thank my commission colleagues for allowing that to happen.”
Although the commission approved the resolution 4-1, it significantly reworded its original call, according to a Feb. 11 report by Bloomberg. The commission only agreed to study the feasibility of these steps rather than taking action, as the original proposal reportedly suggested.
Some city commissioners reportedly cautioned against moving into Bitcoin without a close study of the risks. “Maybe you’re ahead of your time, maybe you’re right, but let’s analyze it,” commissioner Manolo Reyes said. Ken Russell, vice-chairman of the city commission, reportedly claimed that he is “certainly not opposed” to the idea of Miami embracing Bitcoin. However, it’s still important to ensure “we all know what we’re getting into,” he said.
Suarez, who is up for re-election in 2021, has been steadily establishing himself as an advocate of new technologies like crypto.
The official previously announced his intention to make Miami have “the most progressive crypto laws,” and overtake Silicon Valley as the most Bitcoin-friendly place in the United States.
Francis Suarez, Miami’s Pro-Crypto Mayor, To Appear On “Blockchain & Booze Tonight”
As Miami becomes the hottest spot in America for crypto, Mayor Suarez wants to know: “How can I help?” But will he actually be swigging Miami Vice cocktails?
Francis Xavier Suarez, the mayor of Miami and a firm Bitcoin (BTC) proponent, will appear for a 30-minute fireside chat on Blockchain & Booze this evening.
The episode, hosted by Adam Levy of blockchain venture studio and fund Draper Goren Holm and streamed live from Cointelegraph’s Twitter account, will explore Miami’s emerging status as a global crypto hub, in addition to Suarez’s civic leadership responsibilities.
The chat will be followed by a half-hour-long AMA with guests from across the crypto industry.
Suarez attracted the attention of the crypto industry in January after Miami became the first municipal government to host the Bitcoin white paper on its website.
In February, Suarez announced his intention to transform Miami into the city boasting “the most progressive crypto laws” in the United States, with the Miami City Commission recently exploring allowing residents to pay taxes and receive their salaries in crypto.
The upcoming episode of Blockchain & Booze will be the first since Levy announced a partnership with Cointelegraph on Feb. 22. Speaking at the LA Blockchain Summit, Levy remarked on how the industry-leading meetup grew from humble beginnings:
“It’s crazy to see how Blockchain & Booze developed from a few people on a Zoom call to this incredibly fun weekly show where we all get to learn about what’s happening in the industry, and at the same time, meet those who are building its foundation.”
“I’m so excited to be working together with Cointelegraph as we start a new chapter for B&B and create the most fun, informative and entertaining virtual experience for everyone during this pandemic,” Levy added.
Jon Rice, editor-in-chief at Cointelegraph, said, “We’re excited to establish this media partnership with Blockchain & Booze. Adam Levy and the team at Draper Goren Holm and LA Blockchain Summit created a unique format for getting to know the industry’s top leaders more intimately.
It’s a community-focused event, and since everyone gets tired of the same stuffy formats, it’s proved to be a great way to unwind, relax and still enjoy an entertaining and educational crypto-focused chat. Now, slap the bag.”
Don’t miss the upcoming episode of Blockchain & Booze live from Cointelegraph’s Twitter account from 1:00 am to 2:00 am UTC.
The hour-long episode will be followed by a 60-minute networking session on Remo that will allow viewers to meet and mingle with other streamers and the show’s host.
You can join Blockchain & Booze every Tuesday for free by registering at https://blockchainbooze.io.
90% of Bitcoin Mining Comes From ‘Dirty Energy,’ Miami Mayor Says
The U.S. should address the environmental problems of Bitcoin mining by providing its clean energy to set up mining hubs, Mayor Francis Suarez said.
The majority of Bitcoin (BTC) is mined outside of the United States using “dirty energy,” Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has claimed.
Suarez discussed the environmental implications of Bitcoin mining in a March 26 episode of the Unconfirmed podcast with cryptocurrency journalist Laura Shin. The mayor said that the U.S. should mine more Bitcoin for to national security reasons.
“A part of the problem with Bitcoin is 90% of it is not done in the United States. 90% of it is done in countries that have dirty energy. So that’s the reason why it’s considered to be a dirty activity,” Suarez stated.
The official argued that the U.S. would improve this situation by providing its renewable clean energy supply to Bitcoin mining centers and data centers. “We get nuclear power, so we have clean energy. A clean energy supply that’s essentially unlimited,” he said.
Miami could set up a Bitcoin mining hub as part of this national security/environmental conservation goal, Suarez said, adding:
“It would be to benefit the crypto community if we did more mining in the U.S. because we produce clean energy so it would change that narrative and that dynamic and also in the future you will see solar and other kinds of clean technology. In my opinion, technology is going to make Bitcoin mining more efficient.”
Suarez is known as a major proponent of the crypto industry in the U.S., backing multiple crypto initiatives in Miami, including proposals allowing Miami residents to pay taxes and receive salaries in Bitcoin.
Bitcoin’s energy consumption rate has been growing massively this year amid Bitcoin hitting new historical price levels, renewing arguments over the cryptocurrency’s environmental issues. In mid-March, Bank of America analysts argued that Bitcoin is an environmentally disastrous asset, claiming that the carbon footprint of owning one BTC is equivalent to owning 60 cars.
According to data from Digiconomist’s Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index, Bitcoin’s energy consumption rate hit another historic high on March 28, with an estimated annual consumption reaching 89.9 TWh.
Miami Mayor Wants City To Become Bitcoin Mining Hub
The mayor would love Miami becoming a bitcoin mining hub to harness the city’s nuclear power capability.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez says the city should become a “clean energy” bitcoin (BTC, +4.3%) mining hub.
* The mayor of Miami said in an interview with Laura Shin that part of bitcoin mining’s problem is its reputation as a “dirty activity” because “90% of it is done in countries that have dirty energy.”
* Suarez said he would love for Miami to become a bitcoin mining hub to harness the city’s nuclear power capability, “a clean energy supply that’s essentially unlimited.”
* Solar and hydrogen-powered technology could also enter this mix in the future, Suarez said.
* He also cited national security reasons as a motivation because there is an unease about 90% of mining being done outside of the U.S.
* Suarez had been asked by Shin how he reconciles his interest in bitcoin with the environmental impact of mining and fighting the effects of climate change on Miami.
* The Miami mayor proposed in February that residents be able to pay for services in bitcoin and that city employees be given the option of getting paid in it.
* The city’s commissioners voted to study the use of crypto before proceeding.
Jackson, Tennessee Follows Miami’s Lead To Adopt Bitcoin Operations
Another city in the United States is looking to add Bitcoin payments and mining activities to the city’s balance sheet.
Jackson, Tennessee is the latest city in the United States moving to adopt Bitcoin (BTC) payments and mining, following recent crypto developments in Florida.
Jackson Mayor Scott Conger announced Wednesday that the city is actively exploring the option to pay its employees in cryptocurrency in addition to mining Bitcoin and adding it on the city’s balance sheet. The mayor hinted that the city is looking to enable payrolls in several digital assets, mentioning coins like Bitcoin, Ether (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC).
“Local government will lead the way in #Bitcoin adoption, and along with it, usher in a new industrial revolution with sustainable economies that will help close the wealth gap,” Mayor Conger said in a Thursday tweet.
The latest announcement comes shortly after Mayor Conger joined the crypto community’s “laser eyes” flash mob, changing his Twitter profile picture to include laser eyes earlier this week. The crypto laser eyes trend emerged in February, with industry leaders and users changing their Twitter profile avatars to include laser eyes in support of Bitcoin’s price surge.
The mayor’s move follows in the steps of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who backed a major initiative to allow Miami residents to pay taxes and receive salaries in Bitcoin. The city commission has already supported a resolution to explore Bitcoin as an acceptable investment for municipal funds. A Miami-Dade County commissioner backed a similar tax resolution in April.
“I’m just following your lead,” the Jackson mayor said in response to Mayor Suarez’s support of his latest crypto move.
Is Crypto Miami For Real?
A rapper takes the stage. He raps about crypto: I’m blowing up, like bitcoin; I got it going to the max, I ain’t no s**tcoin! The crowd cheers and dances. A giant screen displays a mix of non-fungible tokens. It’s loud. It’s weird. It’s fun.
And this is when it fully hits you that the Miami Crypto Expo is an actual Expo, filled with people, actual people, people who drink and laugh and hug and flirt. This is not Zoom. This is not a “virtual conference.” This is not an “online meetup.” This is the real deal.
And the NFT-themed expo, held April 21 to 23, seems to have a deeper purpose: to announce that Miami is the real deal. Crypto is everywhere.
Mayor Francis Suarez wants to make the city a Crypto Hub, the Miami Heat basketball team will soon play in the FTX Arena – astonishing mainstream publicity for Samuel Bankman-Fried’s cryptocurrency exchange – and Miami will soon play host to the upcoming Bitcoin 2021 conference, now billed as “The Largest Bitcoin Event in History.”
But is the hype real? In my first bit of traveling since being fully vaccinated, I wanted to visit Miami in person – not via Zoom – to see if there’s actual, flesh and blood, real-world evidence of Miami’s crypto boom. After all, it’s easy to pump out press releases. It’s easy for a mayor to tweet.
And it’s easy to claim you’re a Crypto City. Back in 2018 I visited “Bitcoin City” in Ljubljana, Slovenia. I’ve been to the Crypto City of Zug, Switzerland. Akon is building a Crypto City in Uganda. Wyoming is the Crypto State. Puerto Rico is Crypto Utopia. And so on. It now seems like a proven playbook: If your city needs a rebranding, why not choose crypto?
Miami Mayor Bought Bitcoin After Congress Passed $1.9T Stimulus Bill
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez says he owns both Bitcoin and Ether but has been too busy to buy the recent dip.
Francis Suarez, the crypto-friendly mayor of the city of Miami, may have further cemented his status as a cryptocurrency proponent.
Appearing on the CNBC Squawk Box program, Suarez revealed that he owns both Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH).
“I own #bitcoin and I own #ethereum,” says @FrancisSuarez. “I haven’t bought the dip yet but I’m planning to. I’ve just been too busy.” pic.twitter.com/xdKpghIRR5
— Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) June 3, 2021
According to Suarez, he bought BTC and ETH immediately after the United States Senate passed the $1.9-trillion stimulus bill for further COVID-19 relief back in early March.
For Suarez, the passage of the bill made inflation an inevitability, stating, “I knew at that point that inflation was inevitable and that there had to be some sort of a hedge.”
Massive government spending to spur economic recovery continues to stoke inflation and monetary debasement fears further lending credence to Bitcoin’s viability as a hedge asset.
At the time of stimulus bill passage, Bitcoin rocketed past $54,000 on the road to reaching its current all-time high above $64,000. BTC along with the crypto market did experience significant losses in May, with token prices sliding almost 50% across the board.
Suarez Said He Was Unable To Take Advantage Of The Current Dip, Adding:
“I haven’t bought the dip yet but I’m planning to. I’ve just been too busy; I’ve been working too much.”
Miami is also fast becoming a major crypto hub in the United States, with venture capital firm Borderless Capital announcing a $25-million fund for startups based in the city.
From nightclubs to tax payments, crypto adoption seems to be growing at a significant pace across the city, with the mayor even calling for progressive cryptocurrency laws back in February.
Miami’s footprint in the cryptocurrency landscape appears set for another boost as the city plays host to the Bitcoin 2021 conference. Congresspeople, CEOs, celebrities and cryptographers are among the over 50,000 crypto faithful expected to grace the event.
Blockchain.com Says Goodbye To The Big Apple, Hello To Miami
Miami’s mayor says he wants “a Miami that lasts forever” as he announces Blockchain.com’s move to the city.
Major crypto solutions provider Blockchain.com is moving its United States headquarters from New York to Miami in an attempt to spur aggressive growth over the next few years.
The $5 billion firm intends to hire 300 new full-time employees in the region over the next 18 months. The news broke a day before the city played host to the world’s largest Bitcoin conference, Bitcoin 2021.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez made the announcement at City Hall with Blockchain.com CEO Peter Smith. He explained that not only will the move boost local employment but it will also be an investment in the local science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) community via educational programming. Suaraz said:
“Blockchain.com’s arrival in Miami perfectly encapsulates what the Miami Movement is all about — leveraging Miami’s talent against the world’s top companies in order to build towards our goal of becoming a Miami that lasts forever and a Miami that works for everyone.”
Blockchain.com cited a key driver of the move was “the city’s welcoming regulatory environment serving as a hotbed of crypto innovation.” The firm’s global headquarters will still be based in Londonn, however, Miami will stand as its U.S. HQ. Blockchain.com also has offices in San Francisco which will remain.
Blockchain.com, with a $5 billion post-money valuation, is arguably the biggest blockchain-related company poached by Miami since Mayor Suarez began his intense crypto push. The company services 32 million users across 200 countries.
Over the last year, Suarez has made it clear that he wants to landmark Miami as the country’s crypto center. Crypto finance firm XBTO Group purchased a new Miami office in April, Scott Minerd from global investment firm Guggenheim Partners and Peter Thiel associate Keith Rabois have also bought property there. Crypto exchange FTX secured a 19-year deal for naming rights to the Miami Heat arena, and Borderless Capital announced a $25 million fund for Miami-based crypto businesses on June 2.
Suarez has also held meetings with the Winklevoss twins, Elon Musk, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Google CEO Eric Schmidt in an effort to convince them of Miami’s benefits.
Suarez has demonstrated a personal conviction as well, publicly revealing that he owns Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH), and is planning on “buying the dip”.
“I own #bitcoin and I own #ethereum,” says @FrancisSuarez. “I haven’t bought the dip yet but I’m planning to. I’ve just been too busy.” pic.twitter.com/xdKpghIRR5
— Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) June 3, 2021
Miami Stakes The Claim To Become The World’s Bitcoin And Crypto Capital
Miami has a dynamic mayor, lots of VC money and is coming off the largest ever crypto extravaganza, but is that enough without legal clarity?
As Miami comes down from the “high” of having hosted the “largest-ever” Bitcoin event, it seems reasonable to ask: Does the Sunshine State’s entrepot really have what it takes to become “the world’s cryptocurrency capital?” — a new role foreseen by its dynamic mayor. If not, could Miami at least become the next Crypto Valley — i.e., a cradle for cryptocurrency and blockchain innovation like the Swiss canton of Zug?
The optics certainly look good. As the New York Times noted in its coverage of last week’s Bitcoin 2021 gathering, “The city has gone full crypto,” with Bitcoin ATMs sprinkling Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood. Meanwhile, crypto exchange FTX has secured the naming rights for the Miami Heats arena, while there was also a proposal by Miami mayor Francis Suarez to allow citizens to pay taxes with cryptocurrency, among other things.
But others caution that a lot of hard work still awaits — and regulatory/legislative events have to take a favorable turn before Miami can lay claim to being the capital of anything in the rapidly evolving cryptoverse.
Enabling Legislation Is Critical
“Miami cannot do this without the Florida state legislature passing pro-crypto legislation,” Zachary Kelman, managing partner at Kelman Law, told Cointelegraph, which followed with a question about Bitcoin 2021 being a milestone event and harbinger of big things to come. Kelman answered, “Yes, but in large part due to the pent-up demand for such a conference given the crypto bull market occurring during the pandemic.”
Kelman is no crypto skeptic — quite the opposite. He belongs to the Florida Blockchain Business Association, which is actively lobbying for the necessary crypto-enabling state legislation. If that is secured, Miami could become a crypto hub, even without federal legislation, he said, because:
“Money transmission rules, which are mostly governed by state legislatures, hold the keys for crypto businesses to thrive in a particular jurisdiction. Most of the activity remains in the exchange space, followed by the growth of ‘DeFi’ projects, which also often fall under the state money transmission rules.”
Miami has other advantages over other emerging crypto hubs — even Wyoming, which already has crypto-supportive state laws — Hemang Subramanian, assistant professor at Florida International University’s business school, told Cointelegraph.
Miami is an international city with a developed banking infrastructure, and many venture capitalists and high-net-worth individuals are interested in funding innovation. Moreover, “it is one the largest financial hubs in the country, with a large port and a huge expat population from South America, the Caribbean and Europe.”
Benjamin Sauter, a lawyer at Kobre & Kim LLP, agreed with Subramanian that Miami was an appealing destination and business hub “particularly as digital currencies begin to take the Latin American market by storm.” Florida also lacks a state income tax — another plus, he told Cointelegraph. But those advantages still may be unable to transform the city into a global crypto hub, even with favorable state legislation:
“Most of the serious legal work needs to happen at the federal level. Much of the current discussion focuses on Anti-Money Laundering, international cooperation and asset recovery, and tax enforcement. Wealthy individuals and companies in the [crypto] space would do well to plan for government scrutiny and enforcement measures in these areas, rather than holding their breaths for a quick fix in Miami.”
Lane Kasselman, chief business officer of Blockchain.com, which recently announced that it was moving its U.S. headquarters from New York to Miami, was understandably bullish about the company’s sunny new second home and told Cointelegraph, “Miami is already the [new] Crypto Valley, and the announcements last week prove it.”
Mayor Suarez is acting as a vocal proponent for technology investment in the region, he added, and “Miami’s welcoming regulatory environment will help fuel crypto innovation.”
Miami As Seen From Abroad
What about the view from further afield? Thomas Nägele, an attorney who played a role in the evolution of Crypto Valley, told Cointelegraph, “I think that Miami is in a very good position to become a blockchain hub like the Crypto Valley in Switzerland and the crypto country Liechtenstein,” while adding several caveats:
“A blockchain hub is not something that can simply be imposed; it has to be supported by the community, requires a certain number of companies that are active in this area, and, last but not least, needs legal clarity.”
This last item, “legal clarity,” is of the utmost importance, Nägele stressed, and “the perfect example for that is Liechtenstein with its TVTG — also known as Blockchain Act — which provides the legal framework for the tokenization of assets.”
Ian Simpson, senior marketing and communication manager at Bitcoin Suisse AG — a company based in the Crypto Valley — told Cointelegraph, “One challenge for larger cities and countries is that crypto can be ‘swallowed up’ by the wider tech ecosystem, and this can dilute the attractiveness to blockchain projects.”
He added, “Close contact and access to ideas, talent and quality services are some of the things that have made Switzerland’s Crypto Valley what it is. We’ll have to wait and see how things develop in Miami.”
When asked if Bitcoin 2021 should be viewed as a milestone event for the crypto and blockchain space, Simpson answered that while it was a welcoming event, particularly after all the lockdowns of the past year, “It does not seem to have marked any significant change or development in the community — and as we saw it had absolutely no effect on the markets.”
Nägele, for his part, called it “a pity” that most European countries were on a quarantine list and were unable to join the Bitcoin 2021 gathering, “but what my friends were telling me, it was an amazing event, and this is always a good start for an ecosystem.” While Kasselman commented, “There’s no question we’ve reached a critical inflection point where crypto has moved from niche to mainstream,” he further explained to Cointelegraph:
“What’s notable is that the conference wasn’t just about Bitcoin, it was about the ecosystem: From DeFi to NFT to SushiSwap. Crypto is an industry, not just a [single] highly valued token.”
A New Center Of Gravity?
Overall, is it even possible to identify the crypto/blockchain world’s nerve center, and if so, could it change? It may shift from time to time, said Nägele, “depending on where attractive conditions exist for the relevant companies.
Europe and especially Switzerland and Liechtenstein were certainly early adopters, and recently, Asia is catching up. I really look forward to welcoming Miami to the club, but finally, I hope that we consider the world as the crypto hub.”
Simpson added, “The U.S. has a strong position in the blockchain and crypto space by virtue of its lead in technology and with the recent IPO of Coinbase. However, Europe and Switzerland seem to offer more openness on the regulatory side, and the Asian ecosystem also has a great deal of weight by virtue of scale.” But it is still difficult to point to a single center of gravity in the blockchain ecosystem, he added.
“While the U.S. and Europe get much of the press, Latin America and Asia show the fastest retail user growth,” added Kasselman. “It’s likely as crypto becomes more ubiquitous across financial services, we’ll see emerging markets accelerate adoption for the core products, and mature markets grow their usage of the expanding crypto ecosystem.”
“I think Miami could easily be the American capital of crypto if it isn’t already,” noted Kelman. “However, without federal legislative support, it is impossible for Miami to become the international crypto capital,” and recent signs “point to more onerous federal legislation rather than crypto-friendly laws in the near term.”
Subramanian said that regulation always follows innovation, and “in a democracy, the people’s ‘will’ will eventually play out.” That is, the requisite state and federal legislation will come eventually. “If Zug in Switzerland can become a crypto-blockchain haven, Miami can too. It is more diverse, more international, and much more capital-friendly,” he added.
Miami Mayor Offers City’s Clean Nuclear Power To Chinese Bitcoin Miners
Mayor Francis Suarez wants to make Miami a Bitcoin mining hub by offering the city’s cheap, clean nuclear energy supply.
With Bitcoin (BTC) mining concentration expanding in North America, Miami mayor Francis Suarez is looking to position his city as a hub for crypto mining activity.
Speaking to CNBC on Thursday, Mayor Suarez said he is inviting foreign mining companies to consider establishing data centers in the city.
According to Suarez, Miami’s ample nuclear electricity supply should attract Bitcoin miners looking to adopt clean energy sources for their operations, especially amid the current spotlight on the supposed carbon footprint of crypto mining.
Mayor Suarez has previously weighed in on the issue claiming back in March that 90% of Bitcoin mining was from “dirty energy.”
At the time, the Miami mayor argued that a shift in mining concentration to the United States may help to ease environmental concerns.
As part of efforts to attract overseas Bitcoin miners, Mayor Suarez stated that city officials were looking to reduce the cost of energy in conjunction with the power companies. Other incentives like favorable taxes and minimal regulations are also on the table, according to the Miami mayor.
By using cheap, clean energy and crypto-friendly regulations, Miami may compete with other emerging mining destinations in Texas and Wyoming.
The plan may also further expand Miami’s crypto adoption drive with the city looking to become the Bitcoin and crypto capital of the world.
Mayor Suarez is himself a crypto proponent and has said previously that he owns both Bitcoin and Ether (ETH). As previously reported by Cointelegraph, the Miami mayor bought BTC after Congress passed the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill back in March.
Suarez’s open invitation to overseas miners is also coming at a time of increasing clampdowns on crypto mining by Chinese authorities. On Friday, reports emerged that crypto miners in Ya’an, a city in the Sichuan Province, have been ordered to shut down their operations.
With anti-crypto mining sentiments seemingly prevalent among authorities in Beijing, friendlier climes like Miami may prove attractive to miners leaving China. Indeed, some miners are already considering plans to leave the country with a spokesperson for BTC.top telling Cointelegraph, “Yes, we want to go overseas.”
Civic Engagement And Crypto: Miami Unveils Its Own Digital Coin
MiamiCoin is not just a cryptocurrency, but rather a decentralized application that can function as a developer platform for cities.
On June 2, 2021, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez tweeted that “MiamiCoin” will be the first “CityCoin” ever to be launched, representing Miami’s very own cryptocurrency. Fast forward about two months later and the anticipation surrounding the release of MiamiCoin has been on the rise.
Initially, it may appear as if the Magic City’s digital currency will function just like other cryptocurrencies that can be bought, sold and traded to profit both investors and the city of Miami. Yet, “MiamiCoin” is quite unique from other digital currencies.
A Developer Platform For Cities
Patrick Stanley, founder and CEO of CityCoins — the project behind MiamiCoin — told Cointelegraph that MiamiCoin (MIA) can actually be considered as a developer platform for cities. “MiamiCoin, being the first-ever CityCoin, is entirely programmable. Therefore, applications can easily be built on top of it,” said Stanley.
Specifically speaking, CityCoins is a project built on Stacks, which is an open-source network of decentralized applications (DApps) and smart contracts built adjacent to the Bitcoin blockchain. This means that MiamiCoin, which was officially activated on August 3, could be considered as a DApp powered by the Stacks network — a smart contract platform built on the Bitcoin network. As such, Stanley explained that MiamiCoin cannot be pre-mined or bought at the moment:
“The community launched MiamiCoin, so everyone has to mine $MIA fairly and equally. This represents open membership mining, which is the same concept as when Satoshi launched Bitcoin. Mining officially began on August 4.”
Regarding the tokenomics behind MiamiCoin, Stanley mentioned that during the first two weeks of mining MIA, the base currency being used to mine CityCoin — which is Stacks’ STX token — will go directly into a reserved wallet claimed by the city of Miami. After two weeks, 30% of all those funds will remain in the reserved wallet, while 70% will be allocated to the miners.
Stanley further shared that because CityCoins is powered by Stacks, users will be able to swap between MIA and Bitcoin (BTC) when performing a Bitcoin transaction. “We consider Bitcoin as something that can power many other applications, though it’s currently underutilized,” commented Stanley. To his point, most DApps are currently built on Ethereum, which saw a number of increased activity last year.
“Community Money” Enabled By Crypto
An important point to note here is that 30% of the mined MIA will be allocated to the city of Miami. According to an article published by The Miami Herald last month, city officials mentioned that MiamiCoin could be used to build roads, parks and other public infrastructures.
Stanley noted that the city of Miami leveraging MIA for civic engagement is extremely important, given the community aspect behind CityCoins. According to Stanley, CityCoins are in a small part a coin for geographies, meaning those who value certain regions can show their support by holding digital currencies created for different cities. Stanley further remarked that over time, CityCoins will overflow to other communities across various regions.
While futuristic, this concept was part of the reason why the cryptocurrency exchange Okcoin pledged to list MIA on its platform. Haider Rafique, chief marketing officer at Okcoin, told Cointelegraph that there have been a few historically compelling projects and teams that have taken a long time to arrive in the United States.
Rafique believes that CityCoins could potentially put together an ecosystem for different applications:
“By opening these markets, we bring investors in who can buy these assets and then further explore these ecosystems. For example, Stacks has various decentralized finance applications to interact with. We see CityCoins as having that same type of utility.”
Moreover, Rafique considers MiamiCoin to demonstrate a new way for people to leverage cryptocurrency to participate in civic engagement: “CityCoins is not just an incentive for retail investors, but also for governing bodies. Cryptocurrency shouldn’t just be about speculation, but also about real-world usage.” Rafique added that MIA will become tradable on Okcoin later on, once liquidity is created from mining.
Will The Concept Be Widely Adopted?
Although it’s notable that Miami is the first city to launch a CityCoins token, concerns around adoption and regulations remain. Tim Shields, a partner at Kelley Kronenberg’s Fort Lauderdale law office, told Cointelegraph that he doesn’t think MiamiCoin will result in widespread adoption: “The technological scheme of how MiamiCoin works is fairly complex and it will go beyond the scope of most people who already hold cryptocurrency.”
While this may be, Shields does believe that MIA will help further develop Miami’s growing tech ecosystem. According to Shields, MiamiCoin is yet another effort that highlights Miami’s openness and friendly stance toward cryptocurrency. Shields further remarked that Mayor Suarez has clearly been working on his goal of making Miami the Bitcoin capital of the world, and if nothing else, MiamiCoin shows that a city mayor can attract innovation in the blockchain space.
Regarding regulations, Shields explained that this will likely be challenging, noting that he’s not sure how the city of Miami will hold MIA. “This may be held as property and then converted to cash,” he remarked.
Ben Bartlett, Berkeley City Council member and crypto lawyer, told Cointelegraph that the risks with MiamiCoin appear to be in assessing liquidity for the tokens. Bartlett also mentioned friction when leveraging MiamiCoin: “Ordinary people don’t have the bandwidth to deal with the complexities of wallets and seeing out the right exchange. There may be some regulatory issues that need to be carefully considered.”
Bartlett explained this is especially the case in light of new proposals laid out by the new digital asset infrastructure bill that aims to expand the definition of brokers to include miners and other linchpins of the crypto ecosystem.
Concerns aside, Bartlett remains hopeful that the city of Miami can resolve these issues by adopting an agile approach, ensuring popular participation while avoiding regulatory pitfalls. “I’m very excited and thankful for the mayor of Miami’s bold leadership. MiamiCoin represents the next level of governance and shared prosperity,” said Bartlett.
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