FORBES: Miami’s Mayor Leads The Charge To Bring Bitcoin To America’s Largest Cities by Roger Huang
Miami’s mayor, Mayor Francis Suarez, has been busy adding a personalized touch in trying to bring tech entrepreneurs to Miami. Striving to combine the financial elements of New York City and the technology character of San Francisco into a South Florida finance and tech oasis, the mayor is bringing a different attitude and policy outlook on innovation. Among one of the many areas this vision affects is bitcoin — something he believes, in an interview with Forbes, will be the “biggest story of the next few years.”
The mayor admits he’s always been fascinated with the idea of bitcoin. Its mathematical nature appeals to him and he’s aware of the growing popularity of bitcoin among the American people. There are three tangible paths the city is taking to expand its bitcoin-friendly nature:
Miami is considering giving city employees the opportunity to get their salaries paid in bitcoin
Local fees and taxes could be paid in bitcoin or some other cryptocurrency
Finally, the city’s treasury might place some of its investment capital into bitcoin, which would be a first for major cities in the United States (and perhaps in the world)
While in exact percentage or absolute terms, the mayor hasn’t got an exact figure for how much investment he wants to place — yet he knows he wants to structure it in a public-private partnership where private partners can take some of the reward for defraying risk from the public side.
An hypothetical example with arbitrary numbers: the city would invest about $250,000 in public funds into a fund that would be supplemented with $750,000 in private bitcoin from three large investors. The private investors would get the first funds out to guarantee their return, while the city would benefit from anything left.
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Using the city’s investment powers creates a lot of potential, but also some risk. For example, Miami’s treasury, according to the mayor’s recollection, doesn’t hold any commodities and mostly sticks to cash and cash equivalents. This makes his intent in this field a strong statement of interest in what holding bitcoin can do for the city of Miami.
He’s also keeping an eye out on the bitcoin ecosystem and events, having spoken at a bitcoin event a couple of years ago, and looking to bring the Bitcoin 2021 Conference to Miami.
Finally, the mayor is considering financing his reelection campaign in bitcoin, joining a small selection of politicians who have raised funds in bitcoin. Combined with his social media presence, the efforts could bear fruit that helps solidify his tech-friendly persona, as well as the treasury for his next re-election.
Beyond just efforts for his city, Mayor Francis is also reaching out and learning from other states and jurisdictions — and making efforts to bring Wyoming-style laws on bitcoin to Florida, having reached out to Caitlin Long of Wyoming fame and speaking with Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis about bringing a bill in the state legislature that would bring Wyoming-style bitcoin regulations to Florida.
The mayor concluded the interview by saying that many people “underestimated this story” (the story of bitcoin) and it looks like with these actions, he isn’t going to be one of them. The mayor of Miami is combining its hosting of innovators with a drive to bring bitcoin to the stage.