In some of this year's biggest crypto moves, several cities are pushing to incorporate cryptocurrencies. New York City and Miami - two of the largest municipal economies in the United States - have become the poster children of this unexpected crypto push.
Mayor Suarez - Miami’s Crypto Mayor
Mayor Francis Suarez of Miami is the primary leader for cities embracing crypto. The Republican mayor of Miami since 2017, Suarez became a star in the crypto space this year after supporting the launch of MiamiCoin, the city's native cryptocurrency.
MiamiCoin hasn't grabbed headlines but appears to be a profitable venture for the City of Miami. In November, Suarez told local news sources that every city resident with a MiamiCoin wallet would be eligible for Bitcoin rewards. Launched in August, MiamiCoin helps the city fund municipal projects by generating yields.
According to reports, staking MiamiCoin has already generated over $21 million in yields for the city. The asset's revenue wallet converts MiamiCoin deposits into the dollar based on directives from city officials. Suarez expressed optimism that the yields could cover Miami's tax needs once they hit a certain level.
Florida Gets Its Groove Back
Suarez's crypto support has infiltrated cities beyond Miami. In November, reports confirmed that Tampa's mayor Jane Castor had decided to take her paycheck in Bitcoin. Castor reportedly made the comment at Florida's Bitcoin & Blockchain Summit, saying Suarez inspired her. Suarez himself has said he will collect some of his pay in Bitcoin.
Love for crypto has now extended to the Florida State level. Earlier this month, Governor Ron DeSantis shared his 2022-2023 budget proposal, announcing an initiative that could allow businesses to make state fee payments with cryptocurrencies.
According to the budget highlights, DeSantis is looking to provide up to $200,000 to the Department of Financial Service. The funding will allow corporations to pay state fees with crypto, remitting their payments directly to the Florida State Department.
DeSantis also wants to allocate $500,000 toward researching blockchain technology to maintain valuable motor vehicle records, authenticate Medicaid transactions, and improve financial crime prevention.
All in all, Florida hopes to allocate $700,000 in crypto incorporation over the next two years.
Eric Adams and Ambitions for New York
New York City has also been making some massive crypto moves. Eric Adams, the city's Democrat mayor, has been revamping the city as a crypto hub.
Adams first captured the industry's attention in November when he Tweeted that he would receive his first three salaries in Bitcoin. Adams and Suarez had been duking it out on Twitter to see who was more crypto-friendly, and Adams decided to one-up his counterpart.
New York City has gone the way of Miami and launched its own digital asset - NewYorkCityCoin. Adams described the asset as one step towards ensuring New York City becomes the "global home of Web3," teasing additional pro-crypto moves to come.
No Easy Task for Newbie Mayor
Unlike Suarez, Adams has his work cut out for him. The reality is that the state of New York is not doing so well on the crypto front.
Currently, New York ranks as one of the worst places in the United States for crypto. Companies looking to set up in the state must obtain a BitLicense from the state's Department of Financial Services (DFS). Currently, just 20 companies have the license, with financial services giants like PayPal only committing to conditional licenses.
As a result of New York's issues, companies and residents are losing out. New Yorkers are currently prohibited from selling or buying crypto without the BitLicense - which is to say, nearly all of them. Due to these rules, several crypto exchanges have blocked New Yorkers from services.
And New York isn't so friendly towards mining. In July, the New York Senate passed a bill banning crypto mining in the state. The bill died at the State Assembly, but the fact that it even got that far is concerning.