Miami’s crypto craze on full display at bitcoin conference
Miami– The Associated Press
Dozens of companies are using the Bitcoin 2022 conference running from yesterday through tomorrow as a venue to network, pitch ideas and share announcements to the industry and beyond.
New York City and Silicon Valley continued to lead in funding raised by blockchain startups in 2021, with $6.5 billion and $3.9 billion. But Miami is now tied with Los Angeles, where firms pulled in more than $760 million in funding, according to market research firm CB Insights.
The largest crypto company to move to Miami so far, Blockchain.com, will house 200 employees at a location in the hip Wynwood district, where other tech firms and investors are setting up shop as well.
“Wynwood just really has that sort of spirit that you are looking for when a new tech sector is built,” said Blockchain.com CEO and co-founder Peter Smith, comparing it to San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood and New York City’s Brooklyn.
“Ultimately you want to be with the other tech companies.”
Many cite a welcoming environment cultivated by local officials, mainly Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who has attracted national attention by luring tech investment and becoming one of America’s crypto-friendly mayors.
All this enthusiasm strikes a sharp contrast with bitcoin’s own rough year. On the financial side, the cryptocurrency hit a high of $67,553.95 back in November just before plunging by almost half as of late January; it remains down roughly 30 percent since that November high.
As Miami aims to attract more investment for cryptocurrency projects, Bitcoin 2022 organizers say at least 75 companies will be making announcements at the conference.
Last year, El Salvador President Nayib Bukele made international news at the event, unveiling by a video that his country would be the first to make cryptocurrency legal tender. Bukele will be at the conference this year.