Miami was once poised to become the crypto capital of the world. Its mayor, Francis Suarez, has made boosting the city’s image as the crypto hub his main mission. He once pledged to take his salary in bitcoin and seriously recommended paying the city government’s staff and taxes with it.
To push it further, the city even launched its own token the MiamiCoin, which was designed to funnel 30% of the proceeds to the city government, in the hopes that one day it would be substantial enough that residents wouldn’t need to pay local taxes.
Suarez also urged tech companies to settle in Miami, where it’s always summer. He drummed up the city’s unique position in the middle of markets in Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America where interest in crypto was taking hold.
The city’s annual event, Art Basel Miami Beach (ABMB), last year was all about non-fungible tokens (NFTs), taking it as far as promoting NFTs in the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Pérez Art Museum Miami, and the Flagler Street Art Festival.
And then there was FTX. The now-failed company last year paid US$135 million for two decades of calling one of the city’s main stadiums, the one where the Miami Heat plays its home games, the FTX Arena. The Bahamas-based exchange was also supposed to open its US headquarters in Miami.
It’s an understatement to say that Suarez had big dreams for Miami’s future in the blockchain. But a lot has happened in the 12 months since bitcoin peaked at $64,400, and an NFT sold for $300,000 at the Art Basel’s NFT BAZL auction. A lot has happened in the past month since the spectacular collapse of FTX.
Now critics are calling out Suarez for his “fever dreams.” Thomas Kennedy, a Miami resident and Democratic Committeeman told the Washington Post that Suarez’s move to push MiamiCoin, which is now worth next to nothing, is “reckless, dangerous, irresponsible and neglectful.”
“If you live here,” he said. “You see that Miami has a lot of problems, so it is just stupid and disappointing to see our mayor palling around with grifters at these tech conferences.”
Suarez, meanwhile, shrugs it off to fate. “In my view, the fact MiamiCoin didn’t really work is not different than how FTX collapsed,” he said in an interview. “These technologies are good ideas but they don’t always work.”
The crypto winter is seeing bitcoin continuously fall in value, it’s now down to about $17,000. The community was already in cold weather since April of this year and then FTX fell, sending chills down to everything it touched. It was, after all, the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency exchange.
But it’s always sunny in Miami. The crypto winter isn’t going to make Mayor Suarez, his followers, and local crypto investors budge. At this year’s Art Basel, the city continued to celebrate crypto and NFTs, bringing in artists, celebrities, and a host of fans and fanatics to its exhibits and parties.
Like people accustomed to perpetually warm weather, they believe that this winter will pass, and that Miami will soon become what it’s been waiting to be. As soon as bitcoin bounces back.
Information for this briefing was found via the Washington Post, Twitter, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.