Dozens of companies are using the Bitcoin 2022 conference, which takes place Wednesday through Saturday, as a venue to share announcements inside and outside the industry.
The crypto industry is gaining popularity in numerous cities
New York City and Silicon Valley continue to lead the way in blockchain startup funding in 2021, with $6.5 billion and $3.9 billion, respectively. But Miami is now tied with Los Angeles, which raised more than Los Angeles’ $760 million in funding, according to market research firm CB Insights.
Cryptocurrency exchange FTX bought the naming rights to the NBA arena in downtown Miami last year, replacing American Airlines. Blockchain.com, the largest cryptocurrency company to move to Miami to date, will house 200 employees in the hip Wynwood district, where other tech companies and investors are also setting up shop.
Many cited the crypto-friendly environment fostered by local officials, mostly to the credit of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who garnered national attention by attracting tech investment and becoming one of America’s crypto-friendly mayors.
Others noted that both Miami and Florida are business-friendly cities that have remained open during the pandemic, making them more attractive as places where people can work remotely.
John Bartleman, CEO of Plantation, Florida-based multi-asset brokerage TradeStation, said: “It’s hard to deny that this is an amazing opportunity for companies to come here to build their projects in the cryptocurrency space.
Bartleman’s company commissioned an 11-foot-tall (3-meter) robot bull statue to mimic Wall Street’s charging bull. On Wednesday, Mayor Suarez unveiled the artwork to the joyous crowd gathered in Miami Beach to unveil the conference.
All this enthusiasm is in stark contrast to Bitcoin’s tough year
On the financial front, the cryptocurrency hit a high of $67,553.95 in November before plunging by nearly half in late January. It is still down about 30% since its November high. Bitcoin is also largely absent from many of the hottest trends in cryptocurrencies, such as NFTs.
More broadly, critics have questioned the assumptions behind crypto’s claimed value and utility, with some likening the hype and so far unfulfilled promise of blockchain technology to a Ponzi scheme that benefits early players but leaves others. People are in trouble.
The rise in fraud and scams related to cryptocurrencies and NFTs has also prompted some consumers to exercise caution.
As Miami aims to attract more investment to cryptocurrency projects, Bitcoin 2022 organizers say at least 75 companies will make announcements at the conference.
Last year, El Salvador President Nayib Bukele made international news at the conference, announcing via video that his country would be the first to make cryptocurrency legal tender. Bukele will be attending this year’s conference.
One of the most anticipated announcements may have come from 27-year-old Jack Mallers, CEO of bitcoin payments app Strike, who worked with Bukele’s government to roll out bitcoin nationwide.
Mallers has also partnered with Twitter to sync his app with the social network to send digital currency as “tips,” and he demonstrated in a video how he sent $10 to a man at a Starbucks in El Salvador.
It remains to be seen what the outcome of this effort will be in the future. South Florida lost more than 18,000 people between July 2020 and July 2021. And critics worry that the city doesn’t have a high-caliber university that can develop the workforce that allows companies to thrive like the Bay Area and New York.
Miami businessman Josip Rupena, who will be presenting his cryptocurrency mortgage startup at the conference, said he will give the job a few years.
PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel says Buffett is holding back Bitcoin
At the Bitcoin 2022 conference in Miami, Peter Thiel threw cash into the crowd and made insults to the traditional financial and tech industries.
Peter Thiel doesn’t care about Ethereum, and he doesn’t care too much about a few key figures in the financial world. Speaking at the Bitcoin 2022 conference in Miami today, he publicly shared a list of his enemies.
Peter Thiel calls Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO Warren Buffett a sociopathic grandpa from Omaha. JPMorgan Chase Chairman Jamie Dimon and BlackRock CEO Larry Fink also joined the list of Bitcoin enemies.
Taking the time to throw cash at the crowd, Peter Thiel accused the three financial tycoons of fostering a system with institutional and political bias against Bitcoin.
Central banks are bankrupt, we are at the end of the fiat currency system, and Peter Thiel proclaims that Bitcoin is the ultimate replacement for the entire traditional financial system.
Bitcoin is not Ethereum as a payment system, it is not electronic gold, it is something like the S&P 500, it is the entire stock market, he said.
While ethereum is the second-most valuable cryptocurrency by market cap, Peter Thiel said he is unsure if it can maintain its position in the long term.
In his speech, the PayPal exec didn’t spare the tech industry either, and he may have nods to what he sees as libertarian-leaning companies like Meta, which have been subject to government regulations.
Peter Thiel said: Obviously, companies are controlled by governments to some extent, and Bitcoin will never be.