Miami is very well positioned to be the blockchain city of the world, experts are saying, as an influx of talented people in the blockchain technology industry are choosing the city to develop their businesses and create a crypto-enthusiastic community.
The Miami-Dade County Cryptocurrency Taskforce, created May 4 by the county commission, is studying potential policies and ways the county could implement cryptocurrency as forms of payment for taxes, fees and services.
Samir Suresh Patel, associate lawyer for Holland & Knight and a taskforce appointee by Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, says that what is attracting a great number of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to invest in blockchain technology in Miami is that the area can offer a better lifestyle than any other city.
“The blockchain community is a young, vibrant kind of movement,” said Mr. Patel. “There is an incredible amount of energy that is being harnessed here in Miami and put towards the effort of creating a blockchain community.”
Blockchain.com CEO Peter Smith announced last June that the company would be moving its headquarters from New York to Miami.
“We already have more employees in Miami than we do in New York,” he said in an interview in June. “In Miami there is a focus of the government to build a tech economy and to put crypto at the center of that and, at the end of the day, we want to be where the energy is, where the excitement is.”
Mr. Smith said the company would plan to hire 100 employees over the next year and 300 over the next couple of years.
“Because most of these people are entrepreneurs, and block and software developers, and very experienced and well versed in blockchain technology,” said Mr. Patel, “not only they want to conduct their profitable business here, but they also want to give back to the community and build that blockchain infrastructure, where citizens and constituents of Miami-Dade County and the city of Miami can benefit from the inventions that blockchain can provide.”
City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has strongly advocated to integrate cryptocurrency into the government infrastructure and to create a “cryptocurrency innovation hub” in the city, to incentivize citizens and merchants to adopt this technology.
On Nov. 2, Mayor Suarez tweeted that he would accept his next paycheck in Bitcoin. While those initiatives have not yet taken place, his efforts move ahead plans to integrate cryptocurrency into the city government.
“County politicians and city politicians have become more vocal in inviting these enterprises and these people into the city,” said Mr. Patel. “We are seeing this mass influx of talent and money, involved in blockchain technology.”
Mr. Patel also said that many residents have attended meetings of the Miami-Dade Cryptocurrency Task Force expressing interest and sharing independent projects.
“The enthusiasm that started with venture capitalists,” he said, “has certainly trickled down to actual community constituents.”
CityCoin, a non-profit and open-source electronic wallet that allows people to hold and trade cryptocurrency representing a city’s stake, introduced a MiamiCoin last August.
According to its website, traders in the community “mine” MiamiCoins by “forwarding STX tokens (Stacks tokens) into a smart contract in a given Stacks block.” Miners would keep 70% of the rewards – as they stack them – while the remaining 30% is sent to the wallet of the City of Miami in STX for them to convert it into US dollars.
The MiamiCoin protocol has sent about $7.1 million to the City of Miami, the Washington Post reported. Although the city has not adopted the protocol yet, city commissioners agreed on Sept. 13 to accept the donations. In the past three months, the report said, it has reached a total amount mined of $21 million.
“If it were to become part of the fabric of the blockchain ecosystem that is here in Miami-Dade County,” Mr. Patel said, “it would certainly be something that has not been replicated anywhere else in the world. There is not a city or a county that has its own cryptocurrency that is being transacted within its constituents.”
“There are still legal and political due diligence that needs to be done, when it comes to accepting city taxes or other kind of city payments in cryptocurrency,” he added. “I do think that the City of Miami is operating very strategically and very carefully, and rightfully so.”
The blockchain community is endlessly searching for legitimacy, he also said, “and one of tell-tale sign of legitimacy is having the support of politicians, whether that be senators in Washington, governors in states or mayors of local municipalities.”
Alex Lemberg, the CEO of Nimbus Platform, a decentralized finance company that provides 16 revenue streams for traders and recipients of cryptocurrency, said more people and institutions are realizing the real scope of the transformation these innovations create.
“Decentralized finance (DeFi) extends this transformation to existing and new financial products and services with the same security and protections traditional financial institutions offer,” he said in an email. “It provides full transparency and offers the advantages of decentralization, such as eliminating intermediaries and hidden fees.”
According to Mr. Patel, it is actually very difficult to create a decentralized autonomous organization legally, “but it’s like any kind of invention, as blockchain technology has shown, it takes a little bit of time in order to get acceptance by society.”
DeFi, he explained, is a bank operating on the blockchain; a series of smart contracts – computer codes without human intervention – which, in conjunction with each other, provide bank services.
“One of the big things that I’m waiting to see,” he said, “is a way to improve the infrastructure within cities, like laying down high-fiber optic cabling in order to handle massive amounts of blockchain technology information flowing from one end to another. Having a microscope on Miami would certainly be something that can be extrapolated to the greater world.”
Source: Miami Today