In an interview with Axios, the mayor of Miami, Francis Suarez, once again defended Bitcoin as a way to pay public employees and invest county funds. In his defense of the cryptocurrency, the mayor attacked the economic orthodoxy of the Secretary of the Treasury, Janet Yellen.
Yellen recently called Bitcoin “an extremely inefficient way to conduct transactions.” The Miami mayor responded to the secretary’s statement saying that, “I’m not surprised that the Treasury secretary would find a potentially decentralized currency…as hostile to the currency they control.”
Despite Yellen’s attitude towards cryptocurrencies, Jerome Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve (Fed), recently nominated a pioneer of cryptocurrency trading, Sunayna Tuteja, to oversee the Fed’s adoption of digital assets, including cryptocurrencies known as stablecoins, cryptocurrencies whose value is backed and serve as a deposit to counteract the volatility of other cryptos such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Suarez, for his part, has insisted to the Miami-Dade County Committee on allowing citizens to pay their taxes in Bitcoin. The mayor believes that the demand for cryptocurrencies responds to a need that has caused the devaluation of fiat currency: “For people who invest in Bitcoin, the attraction is just that: it’s not backed by a central government. So it’s not manipulable by the central government.”
“I think we’re on the verge of witnessing a titanic shift in this,” Suarez stated before the City Committee referring to cryptocurrency, adding that “it’s a bustling, vociferous, growing industry, and this would send a real signal.”
Despite the Miami mayor’s intentions, Florida state statutes prevent state investment from high-volatility assets and limits the public budget to the purchase of low-risk assets such as treasury bonds, so it is unknown whether the city could invest in cryptos in the future.
To claims of risk, Mayor Suarez responded that “of course it’s risky,” stating that no investment is risk-free, “it’s something we’re studying, we’re not immediately jumping into it.”
Bitcoin broke records again, surpassing $50,000 and reaching a value as high as $57,000. The cryptocurrency’s market capitalization exceeds $600 billion. Bitcoin has recently regained value after a negative run last week. The market’s optimistic attitude towards Bitcoin comes as Wall Street investment firms such as Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Fidelity Investments are increasingly accepting the crypto in their portfolios.
Investment bank Goldman Sachs, which recently announced plans to move to Florida, reopened its cryptocurrency trading desk and confirmed plans to return to Bitcoin futures trading. The move follows the strategy of BNY Mellon bank, which announced a cryptocurrency deposit service in partnership with digital asset management platform Fireblocks.
The adoption of Bitcoin corresponds to a strategy to attract investors in the technology and finance sector to Florida. The mayor of Miami has been seen in conferences on different occasions with managers of the level of Elon Musk and Peter Thiel, convincing them to open offices in the city.
The adoption of Bitcoin as a means of payment by a local government would further strengthen the credibility of the cryptocurrency and attract the attention of many digital investors who are also looking for a new business-friendly place to set up their operations.