When it came time to relocate its headquarters in the United States, Blockchain.com chose downtown Miami over New York.
“New York is a fantastic city,” says Peter Smith, co-founder and CEO of the cryptocurrency firm. “However, Miami was a no-brainer for us.”
The city’s vibrant nightlife and pleasant weather were obvious draws, but Smith believes the decision was made because the city’s goals were more matched with his own. It’s “the gateway to Latin America,” he says. “ Eastern Standard Time is the time zone.
Many people feel that bitcoin is the way of the future of money, and Miami is working hard to become the world’s crypto capital, putting New York’s position as the country’s financial hub in jeopardy and challenging the city’s financial dominance.
Smith attributes the city’s increased visibility to Mayor Francis Suarez. During his first tenure, Suarez made significant investments in Bitcoin and blockchain, the technology that powers it.
Miami now has its own cryptocurrency, MiamiCoin, and held one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency conferences last year.
In a recent interview with NPR, Suarez said, “Crypto is tremendously crucial to the future of the city, and to how we are positioning ourselves right now.” “We have indeed built the crypto epicenter.”
Welcome to Miami
Suarez has perfected his case for investors and executives like Smith. He begins by describing Miami’s beaches, cultural activities, and professional sports teams. Then he gets down to business.
“Right now, there’s probably a two-to-one cost of living differential,” Suarez adds. “Living in New York is twice as expensive as living in Miami.”
The city’s real estate taxes have been dropped “to the second lowest level since the 1960s,” according to the mayor, and the city has more room for future expansion than New York. Suarez is also glad to point out that S&P Global Ratings recently upgraded several of Miami’s bond ratings.
His strategy appears to be working. FTX US, eToro, and Bit Digital have all expressed interest in expanding their operations in Miami, while MoonPay and Orca Capital have already done so.
And established financial firms are flocking to Miami. During the epidemic, Citadel Securities transferred staff to South Florida, and Apollo Global Management is creating a new office.
“In the last 16 months, we relocated nearly $1.2 trillion in assets under administration to Miami,” Suarez adds.
New York: The city that never sleeps?
Miami’s success concerns Eric Adams, the mayor-elect of New York City, who thinks that “the city that never sleeps” is sleeping on cryptocurrency.
“The bitcoin sector, as well as other fast-growing, innovative industries, will be centered on New York!” On Election Day, Eric Adams tweeted. “Be patient!”
When Miami’s mayor said he’d take his next paycheck in bitcoin, Adams doubled down. Or multiplied by three.
“In New York, we always go big,” he declared, “so when I become mayor, I’m going to take my first three paychecks in Bitcoin.”
This caused a stir and made headlines, but it was quickly revealed that New York City employees can only be paid in dollars. Not right now, at least. (While Adams seeks to amend the city’s payroll policy, a representative for the mayor-elect says he will convert his own wages into bitcoin in the meanwhile.)
Tiffany Smith, a lawyer at the law firm WilmerHale in New York who represents crypto firms, says the city has its work cut out for it since it must deal with state restrictions that some in the industry perceive as negative.
“New York had regulation that was adverse to the crypto sector, or was perceived to be unfavorable,” Smith adds. “As a result, many businesses have relocated outside of New York.”
It was one of the first states to implement a licensing system, according to Smith.
Another roadblock is state taxes, which Adams has no control over. New York, unlike Florida, has a state income tax.
But, as Smith points out, New York City has a lot going for it. It is home to a vibrant tech sector as well as a number of world-class universities, including New York University, Columbia, and Cornell Tech. She also claims that crypto companies are aware of the chance to hire top talent from local banks and other financial firms.
“Everything’s a matter of putting it together and marketing and actually reaching out to entrepreneurs and investors,” Smith says.
Bring it on
Adams is counting on the fact that, well, New York City is New York City.
A crypto entrepreneur, Patrick Stanley, is enthused about the competition between the two towns aiming to become “crypto capitals.” He is a member of the CityCoins group, which helped to develop MiamiCoin.
Stanley claims that the competition stems from the shift in views that occurred during the pandemic.
“People who work in information-based sectors select cities the same way they choose products,” he adds, adding that they are seeking for “technology progressive” leaders.
Adams has yet to make any concrete recommendations, despite declining NPR’s interview request. However, he has proposed including crypto in the curriculum of New York City Public Schools, claiming that if the city embraces crypto, it will result in higher-paying jobs.
On January 1, Adams became the 110th mayor of New York and Suarez has some advise for him.
“Hold on tight,” he advises. “There will be a lot of changes. And, listen, being second isn’t a bad thing.”
Disclaimer: The opinion expressed here is not investment advice – it is provided for informational purposes only. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of EGG Finance. Every investment and all trading involves risk, so you should always perform your own research prior to making decisions. We do not recommend investing money you cannot afford to lose.