The City of Miami’s quest to become a world-class finance and tech hub continues, but industry leaders say it appears the focus is shifting away from cryptocurrency.
In April 2022 at the Bitcoin conference, Mayor Francis Suarez unveiled the Miami Bull, a 3,000-pound crypto-inspired statue.
“We are redefining Miami as the financial capital of the world. The decentralized financial capital of the world,” Suarez said in 2022.
Now ahead of Bitcoin 2023, the collapse of FTX and the suspension of Miami Coin trading are leading some to wonder if this crypto craze was a bunch of bull.
Ryan Kirkley, founder of Cryptan Labs and blockchain expert, said: “I take a controversial approach. I say almost 90% of all projects, whether it was a coin or NFT project, they were pyramid schemes or Ponzi schemes. They only worked as long as people kept thinking they were going to be worth more later on. The problem is at the end of the day someone gets left in the back.”
Kirkley moved to Miami in 2021 and said in the early stages, his company invested heavily in cryptocurrency but then began to pivot toward venture capital and artificial intelligence.
“I know a lot of prominent leaders in Miami who are not in Miami for the Bitcoin conference, which a year ago, you would’ve never thought of that,” Kirkley said. “So I do think we are seeing a pretty big shift as far as what’s important to the tech leaders, entrepreneurs, CEOs and investors in the space. There is still a contingent that are Bitcoin to the end, but the majority of us are far more excited about building on technology and how to transform into the next era of technology.”
Tech entrepreneur Temante Leary plans to attend the conference this weekend and said he still has confidence in Bitcoin. He believes Miami continues to be the crypto capital of the nation.
“I still have confidence in Bitcoin. I think it will go up,” Leary said. “I am still seeing a lot of new entrance into the Miami market and a lot of those entrants are in the fintech, crypto space.”
NBC6 reached out to Mayor Suarez’s office for comment, but he was not available for an interview. In a recent interview, he said Miami’s brand is tech and innovation.