Miami city employees could soon choose to get their salaries paid in Bitcoin rather than USD. In an interview with Forbes, Mayor Francis Suarez said tangible paths to expand Bitcoin's adoption throughout the city included enabling city employee salaries to be paid in BTC.
Major figures in the cryptocurrency world have responded positively to the idea, with Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey calling it “smart” on Twitter.
Gemini co-founder Tyler Winklevoss stated that the mayor is “leading the way for governments and Bitcoin.”
Mayor Suarez told Forbes that due to the rise in crypto’s popularity among citizens, he wants to do everything he can to make Miami a Bitcoin-friendly city. Other proposals include allowing local fees and taxes to be paid in Bitcoin and certain other cryptocurrencies, as well as investing some of the city’s treasury into Bitcoin, following Microstrategy’s example.
Although he isn’t sure of specific amounts, Suarez explained that the treasury investment would be structured as a public-private partnership, with the private partners receiving some of the rewards for alleviating some of the risks.
He also revealed that he’s also considering financing his reelection campaign in Bitcoin. He isn’t the first to turn to Bitcoin to help fund political campaigns with Democrat Andrew Yang, California U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, Minnesota U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer, and Libertarian Lara Loomer among U.S. politicians who have already accepted cryptocurrencies in past campaigns.
The mayor believes Bitcoin will be the “biggest story for the next few years.”
“The City of Miami believes in Bitcoin and I’m working day and night to turn Miami into a hub for crypto innovation.”
The mayor told Forbes that he has reached out to other states and jurisdictions, including Caitlin Long in Wyoming and Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis to help drive Bitcoin-friendly changes in Florida’s legislature. These efforts are part of the city’s push to be the next major tech hub in the U.S. with plans to grow innovation and tech growth in the next few years.
Should these actions take effect, Miami’s 450,000 citizens may be encouraged to start transacting in Bitcoin on a regular basis, with the potential for this to spread to the rest of Florida’s 21.5 million residents. It would also make the city more attractive for blockchain-related tech companies and events.
Major crypto conference Bitcoin 2021 announced earlier today it was moving from Los Angeles to Miami in June this year.
Although Miami may be the first U.S. city to offer employees salaries in Bitcoin, other companies have also been exploring this. Last week, Cointelegraph reported that software development services provider Sequoia Holdings, based in Virginia, is offering employees the ability to sacrifice a portion of their salary to invest in either Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), or Ether (ETH).