Amid the fall in the cryptocurrency market, Miami and its mayor, Francis Suarez, appear to be losing enthusiasm for cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, according to some industry observers.
Industry insiders have long praised Suarez for his plans to turn the city into a leading crypto hub.
The mayor continues to receive his salary in Bitcoins (BTC) despite last year’s market crash and extended bear market.
In July 2022, he even stated that the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies opens up great opportunities for his city, as it could give Miami the opportunity to “beat Silicon Valley” because it “leans toward innovation.”
As the city prepares to host another Bitcoin Conference 2023, an annual event that bills itself as “the largest Bitcoin conference” with more than 15,000 attendees and more than 2,000 companies planning to attend the May 18-20 show in Miami . The crypto landscape is quite different from what it was during last year’s exhibition, informs The Wall Street Journal.
“A year ago, when the annual Bitcoin conference opened in Miami, the city was perhaps the largest digital currency accelerator in the country.
MiamiCoin is traded on a global crypto exchange.
The Miami Heat basketball team played at the FTX Arena, and the cryptocurrency exchange Blockchain.com was preparing to move its headquarters to a bright office in the city’s Wynwood district,” the daily reported.
A year later, none of the above is true anymore, which shows just how tumultuous 2022 has been for cryptocurrency, as well as for Miami.
Since the collapse of FTX, the city’s NBA team now plays its home postseason games at the Kaseya Center, and the exchange that hosts MiamiCoin has stopped trading the cryptocurrency after it lost more than 99% of its value.
Blockchain.com also abandoned its original plans to move to Wynwood.
Suarez, meanwhile, lost some of his optimism about how cryptocurrency could boost the city’s economy.
“We thought it was a great opportunity as a fintech token for us to jump in and be able to stand out,” the mayor said of cryptocurrencies in a recent interview.
“I do not regret that we are innovative. You learn, you grow, you become stronger.”
Local officials, entrepreneurs are losing enthusiasm for cryptocurrency
Since last year’s Bitcoin Show, numerous Miami officials and top entrepreneurs have also shifted their narrative on the cryptocurrency, no longer expecting it to be a key element in the city’s quest to become a major hub for business and innovation.
“For the most part, cryptocurrency has been a pyramid scheme,” said Ryan Kirkley, a local entrepreneur who manages and advises early-stage blockchain and artificial intelligence businesses and helps connect them with venture capital.
Tellingly, attendance at the April 2023 NFT conference in Miami is down about 1,500 from last year’s edition, according to an event spokesperson. But his show was forced to move to a space roughly half the size of the 45,000-square-foot warehouse that housed its 2022 edition.