After Bitcoin 2022, Miami’s mayor stands by pro-crypto vision

Miami Mayor Francis X. Suarez explains how cryptocurrency continues to be an opportunity for the city. During This Week In South Florida on Sunday, Suarez explained how the "mining benefit" can help to fund the city's "rent stabilization" fund.

MIAMI – During This Week In South Florida on Sunday, Miami Mayor Francis X. Suarez said cryptocurrencies continue to present big opportunities for the city, and the local tourism industry and the real estate market have felt the impact.

Suarez said CityCoin, a venture that is not affiliated with the city and is not a public-private partnership, is behind MiamiCoin. Stacks, a cryptocurrency financial services company that enables smart contracts on the Bitcoin network, developed CityCoin which has nonprofit-run cryptocurrencies.

Suarez, 44, said the city-branded crypto (valued at $0.002545 on Sunday) has already provided a “mining benefit.”

“Instead of it going through the federal reserve as the mechanism for authentication of transfer, there is a network of computers not too dissimilar to the Internet, that will actually authenticate the transfer of a Bitcoin from one person to the other ... the benefit for doing that as opposed to paying in an ATM $3 or $4 as a transaction fee, it’s what is called a mining benefit.”

Suarez said the crypto benefit is helping to fund the city’s rental assistance program, which helps tenants who have lived in the city for at least three years and who have been hit with a 20% increase or more in rent over the last year.

“Miami coin has not even been in existence for a year. It has generated $20 million in revenue for the city of Miami, so from that perspective, it has certainly been a success,” Suarez said. “I think where it has failed, or where it hasn’t been successful it’s maintaining its price and I think that is a function of the fact that I think it is too inflationary.”

Despite the lack of stability in its purchasing power, Suarez said MiamiCoin, which a person can acquire by obtaining Stacks tokens, doesn’t cost the city anything. He said it is one of the many promising innovative ideas that the city as a cryptocurrency hub should welcome.

The Bitcoin 2022 conference was held from Wednesday to Friday at the Miami Beach Convention Center and Blockchain2022 was held this weekend at the James L. Knight Center in Downtown Miami. The NFT collectors were quick to travel to Miami from all over the world to experience Art Basel Miami Beach during the coronavirus pandemic.

Suarez made headlines after his “How can I help?” tweet on Dec. 4, 2020, responded to Keith Rabois, a tech investor, who wanted to move Silicon Valley to Miami. Miami’s new cryptocurrency culture is growing. The E11even Hotel and Residences project in Miami’s Parkwest is accepting cryptocurrency.

Suarez welcomed Blockchain.com and Inveniam, some of the many thriving financial technology companies that now have offices in Miami. With offices in New York and Michigan, Inveniam now has an office on Brickell Avenue. Blockchain.com moved to Wynwood. Owners of new luxury skyscrapers with water views raised rents.

Miami crypto startups have attracted about $838 million of U.S. venture capital investment, while New York City attracted almost $7 billion and the San Francisco Bay area attracted $12.7 billion since 2019, data from the PitchBook shows, according to Bloomberg.

Watch the complete episode of This Week In South Florida

This Week In South Florida includes discussions about the Miami mayor's focus, the new Supreme Court justice that is making Miami proud and the Parkland school shooter's penalty phase trial.

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TWISF was filmed at Local 10 News’ studios in Pembroke Park. Torres contributed to this report from Miami.


About the Authors:

Michael Putney came to Local 10 in 1989 to become senior political reporter and host of "This Week In South Florida with Michael Putney." He is Local 10's senior political reporter. 

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."