Miami stakes the claim to become the world’s Bitcoin and crypto capital


As Miami comes down from the “high” of getting hosted the “largest-ever” Bitcoin event, it appears cheap to ask: Does the Sunshine State’s entrepot actually have what it takes to become “the world’s cryptocurrency capital?” — a brand new function foreseen by its dynamic mayor. If not, may 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 actually look good. As the New York Times noted in its protection of final week’s Bitcoin 2021 gathering, “The city has gone full crypto,” with Bitcoin ATMs sprinkling Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood. Meanwhile, crypto alternate FTX has secured the naming rights for the Miami Heats arena, whereas there was additionally a proposal by Miami mayor Francis Suarez to permit residents to pay taxes with cryptocurrency, amongst different issues.

But others warning that a whole lot of onerous work nonetheless awaits — and regulatory/legislative occasions have to take a good flip earlier than Miami can lay claim to being the capital of something in the quickly evolving cryptoverse.

Enabling laws is vital

“Miami cannot do this without the Florida state legislature passing pro-crypto legislation,” Zachary Kelman, managing accomplice at Kelman Law, instructed Cointelegraph, which adopted with a query about Bitcoin 2021 being a milestone occasion and harbinger of massive issues 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 not any crypto skeptic — fairly the reverse. He belongs to the Florida Blockchain Business Association, which is actively lobbying for the essential crypto-enabling state laws. If that’s secured, Miami may become a crypto hub, even with out federal laws, he mentioned, as a result of:

“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 different benefits over different rising crypto hubs — even Wyoming, which already has crypto-supportive state legal guidelines — Hemang Subramanian, assistant professor at Florida International University’s enterprise college, instructed Cointelegraph. Miami is a global metropolis with a developed banking infrastructure, and many enterprise capitalists and high-net-worth people are considering 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 interesting vacation spot and enterprise hub “particularly as digital currencies begin to take the Latin American market by storm.” Florida additionally lacks a state revenue tax — one other plus, he instructed Cointelegraph. But these benefits nonetheless could also be unable to rework the metropolis into a world crypto hub, even with favorable state laws:

“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 enterprise officer of Blockchain.com, which just lately introduced that it was transferring its U.S. headquarters from New York to Miami, was understandably bullish about the firm’s sunny new second dwelling and instructed Cointelegraph, “Miami is already the [new] Crypto Valley, and the announcements last week prove it.” Mayor Suarez is performing as a vocal proponent for know-how funding in the area, he added, and “Miami’s welcoming regulatory environment will help fuel crypto innovation.”

Miami as seen from overseas

What about the view from additional afield? Thomas Nägele, an legal professional who performed a task in the evolution of Crypto Valley, instructed 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,” whereas including a number of 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 final merchandise, “legal clarity,” is of the utmost significance, Nägele burdened, 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 advertising and marketing and communication supervisor at Bitcoin Suisse AG — an organization based mostly in the Crypto Valley — instructed 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 requested if Bitcoin 2021 ought to be considered as a milestone occasion for the crypto and blockchain house, Simpson answered that whereas it was a welcoming occasion, significantly in any case the lockdowns of the previous yr, “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 half, known as it “a pity” that the majority European nations had been on a quarantine listing and had been unable to be part of 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 additional defined 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 brand new middle of gravity?

Overall, is it even doable to determine the crypto/blockchain world’s nerve middle, and if that’s the case, may it change? It could shift from time to time, mentioned 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’s nonetheless troublesome to level to a single middle of gravity in the blockchain ecosystem, he added.

Related: The female speakers who 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 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,” famous Kelman. “However, without federal legislative support, it is impossible for Miami to become the international crypto capital,” and current indicators “point to more onerous federal legislation rather than crypto-friendly laws in the near term.”

Subramanian mentioned that regulation at all times follows innovation, and “in a democracy, the people’s ‘will’ will eventually play out.” That is, the requisite state and federal laws will come ultimately. “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.