as miami descends from the “high tier” of hosting the “biggest bitcoin event in history”, it seems reasonable to ask: does the sunshine state’s mall really have what it takes to become “the capital of world of cryptocurrencies? — a new role envisioned by its dynamic mayor. if not, could miami at least become the next crypto valley, i.e. a hotbed 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 meetup, “the city has gone completely crypto,” with Bitcoin ATMs dotting the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami. meanwhile, crypto exchange ftx has secured naming rights for the miami heats arena, while there was also a proposal from miami mayor francis suarez to allow citizens to pay taxes with cryptocurrencies, among other things.
But others warn that much work remains to be done, and regulatory/legislative events must take a favorable turn before Miami can lay claim to being the capital of anything in the rapidly evolving cryptoverse.
enabling legislation is essential
“miami can’t do this without the florida state legislature passing pro-crypto legislation,” zachary kelman, managing partner at kelman law, told cointelegraph, following up with a question about bitcoin 2021 being a landmark event and presage of great things to come. Kelman replied: “yes, but largely due to the pent up demand for such a conference due to the cryptocurrency bull market that has occurred during the pandemic.”
kelman is not a crypto skeptic, quite the opposite. It belongs to the Florida Blockchain Business Association, which is actively lobbying for the passage of state legislation needed for crypto. If that’s secured, Miami could become a crypto hub, even without federal legislation, he said, because:
Miami has other advantages over other emerging crypto hubs, including Wyoming, which already has state-supported crypto laws, Hemang Subramanian, an 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 financing innovation. In addition, “it is one of the largest financial centers in the country, with a large port and a large population of expatriates from South America, the Caribbean and Europe.”
benjamin sauter, attorney at kobre & Kim LLP, agreed with Subramanian that Miami was an attractive destination and business hub “particularly as digital currencies begin to conquer the Latin American market.” Florida also lacks a state income tax, another advantage, he told Cointelegraph. but those advantages may not yet be able to transform the city into a global crypto hub, even with favorable state legislation:
lane kasselman, chief commercial officer of blockchain.com, who recently announced that he would be moving his account from the us. uu. Headquartered from New York to Miami, he was understandably optimistic about the company’s sunny new second home, telling Cointelegraph: “Miami is already the [new] crypto valley, and last week’s announcements prove it.” . Mayor Suarez is acting as a vocal advocate for technology investment in the region, he added, and “Miami’s welcoming regulatory environment will help drive crypto innovation.”
miami seen from the outside
what about the view from further away? thomas nägele, a lawyer who played a role in the evolution of crypto valley, told cointelegraph: “i think miami is in a very good position to become a blockchain hub like crypto valley in switzerland and crypto country liechtenstein,” while adding several caveats:
This last element, “legal clarity”, is of the utmost importance, nägele emphasized, and “the perfect example of this is liechtenstein with its tvtg, also known as blockchain law, which provides the legal framework for asset tokenization. ”
ian simpson, senior manager of marketing and communication at bitcoin suisse ag, a company based in the crypto valley, told cointelegraph: “a challenge for cities and larger countries is that cryptocurrencies can be ‘swallowed’ by the broader tech ecosystem, and this can dilute the appeal of blockchain projects.” He added, “Close contact and access to quality ideas, talent and services are some of the things that have made the Swiss crypto valley Whatever it is, we’ll just have to wait and see how things play out in Miami.”
When asked if bitcoin 2021 should be seen as a milestone for the cryptocurrency and blockchain space, simpson responded that while it was a welcome event, particularly after all the crashes of the past year, “no it seems to have flagged any significant changes or developments in the community, and as we saw, it had absolutely no effect on the markets.”
nägele, for his part, called it a “shame” that most European countries were on a quarantine list and couldn’t join the 2021 bitcoin meetup, “but my friends were telling me it was an amazing event and this is always a good start for an ecosystem” while kasselman commented: “there is no doubt that we have reached a critical inflection point where cryptocurrencies have gone from being niche to being mainstream”, he further explained to cointelegraph:
a new center of gravity?
Overall, is it possible to identify the nerve center of the cryptocurrency/blockchain world and if so, could it change? It can change from time to time, Nägele said, “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 am looking forward to welcoming miami to the club, but ultimately, I hope we look at the world as the hub of crypto.”
simpson added: “the u.s. It has a strong position in the blockchain and crypto space by virtue of its leadership in technology and with the recent Coinbase IPO. however, europe and switzerland seem to offer more openness on the regulatory side, and the asian ecosystem also carries a lot of weight by virtue of scale.” but it is still difficult to pinpoint a single center of gravity in the blockchain ecosystem, he added.
Related: Speakers that made an impact at bitcoin2021 in miami
“while the u.s. and europe get much of the press, latin america and asia show the fastest growth in retail users,” added kasselman. “It is likely that as cryptocurrencies become more ubiquitous in financial services, we will see emerging markets accelerate adoption of mainstream products and mature markets increase their use of the expanding crypto ecosystem.”
“I think miami could easily be the crypto capital of America if it isn’t already,” kelman noted. “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 anytime soon.”
subramanian said that regulation always follows innovation, and “in a democracy, the ‘will’ of the people will eventually be fulfilled.” that is, the required state and federal legislation will eventually arrive. “if zug in switzerland can become a crypto-blockchain haven, miami can too. it’s more diverse, more international, and much friendlier to capital,” he added.