Over the past few weeks and months, Miami and Mayor Francis Suarez have been working towards positioning the city as the country’s premier crypto-hub. “We want to be one of the most crypto-forward and technological cities in the country,” Suarez had said in a recent interview, with the comments coming on the back of reports which claimed that Miami was considering putting 1% of its treasury reserves into Bitcoin.
In fact, a few weeks ago, the city official had also claimed that Miami was looking at crypto-regulations in the state of Wyoming and Wisconsin, among others, to take a step towards enabling crypto-payments.
Mayor Suarez is in the news again today after he responded to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s comments on Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency. Speaking to the media at the recent NYT DealBook Conference, Yellen claimed that Bitcoin is an “extremely inefficient way of conducting transactions.” Further, the Treasury Secretary also raised serious questions about Bitcoin’s use for illicit finance and its energy consumption.
Yellen’s remarks, however, didn’t come as a surprise to Miami’s Mayor.
“It doesn’t surprise me at all that a Treasury secretary would find a decentralized potential currency to be hostile to a currency that they control.”
According to Suarez,
“For people who invest in Bitcoin, the allure is precisely that: It’s not backed by a central government. So it’s not manipulatable by the central government.”
During the said interview, Suarez also shot down questions about the risk associated with the world’s largest cryptocurrency. When asked about investing in an asset class that has long been known for its volatility, the Mayor remarked that Bitcoin is an asset class that is still being studied, and not something Miami is jumping right into. “Bitcoin is worth studying and worth looking at,” he concluded.
While Mayor Suarez’s bullish comments on Bitcoin aren’t a surprise, it is worth highlighting that his latest comments were a direct response to statements made by the United States’ Treasury Secretary, a development that highlights the gulf that is appearing between local officials and the country’s biggest financial decision-makers.