By Nancy Dahlberg
Whether you call it Crypto Week, Bitcoin Week or my favorite, the Basel for Bitcoin, this week will luminate Miami’s emergence as a potential crypto capital and culminate in the Bitcoin 2021 Conference June 4-5 that is billed as the largest Bitcoin convention in history. And taking a page out of the Art Basel Miami playbook, there are satellite events, happy hours, after parties, after-after parties, concerts and popup NFT exhibits all over town (Be nice to your Uber drivers, they’ll be busy).
On Wednesday, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who was instrumental in bringing the Bitcoin conference to Wynwood’s Mana Convention Center, hosted a virtual Crypto Conference for the community with a number of notable speakers, including Balaji S. Srinivasan, Anthony Pompliano and Chamath Palihapitiya, who will also be speaking at the conference. Much of the talk was about Miami’s rise as a tech hub and a center for crypto.
“We are in pursuit of what I call the capital of capital.. not just financial capital, but human capital, social capital and cultural capital… Our Miami is ready to play a role as a key node of innovation and opportunity,” said Suarez.
For his part, Brock Pierce, Chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation who is here for the conference, is already calling Miami “a tier 1 city of venture capital and innovation.”
Srinivasan, former CTO of Coinbase and a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz. said the next Silicon Valley will be in the cloud and startup cities are the crypto currencies of the 2020s. “what people don’t realize, in the remote economy cities can rise or fall at the speed of startups. Startup cities are going to be a huge thing this decade. Just like crypto was in the early 2010s.”
Jalak Jobanputra from Future Perfect Ventures, who will also be a speaker at the Bitcoin Conference, has been investing in crypto since about 2013. is on her third fund globally “and we have seen amazing growth over the last 7-8 years. A lot of our early investments were on the infrastructure side, now we are getting into the golden age of crypto.” Jobanputra also joined the Miami Tech Pod to talk all things Crypto (you can watch it here)
What many may not realize is that a crypto scene has been building here for at least 10 years – Miami was an early adopter. But the week is bringing nonstop news in the crypto space, and in a sign of the times for all to see, the FTX letters were actually going up by crane on the downtown Arena, the first time a crypto company has won naming rights to a major arena or stadium anywhere.
Ahead of the Bitcoin 2021 conference, big announcements were already streaming in. ‘
- On Wednesday morning, Borderless Capital announced it is moving its headquarters here, starting a $25 million Miami fund to seed blockchain sstartups and plans to launch an accelerator together with Algorand.
- Later in the day Freehold announced CityCoins, with the first one being a MiamiCoin. CityCoins let you invest in your favorite city while earning for yourself, the tweets said.
- And on Thursday, com, a major cryptocurrency exchange, announced it is moving its U.S. headquarters from New York City to Miami. Blockchain.com plans to hire 100 full-time employees by the end of 2021, and 200 more in 2022.
The big event
For the big event, Bitcoin 2021, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, Pro skateboarder Tony Hawk, Michael Saylor, Nick Szabo and more than 150 other crypto thinkers, founders, authors and investors are on the agenda to speak. Conference organizers have not disclosed how many people will be attending the conference (the Whales are welcome Thursday but the main event is Friday and Saturday). One media outlet said as many as 50,000 were expected for the week's events. If that’s the case, Suarez noted Thursday, it will be in the ball park of Art Basel Week that draws about 80,000.
Bitcoin 2021 moved from Los Angeles to Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood, which has become a hub for arts, technology and innovation. "We are incredibly grateful for the warm welcome the City of Miami and Wynwood has offered our growing community,” said Pat Riley, Creative Director of BTC Inc., organizer of Bitcoin 2021 Conference. “We are excited to tap into the local ecosystem and the area’s brilliant art scene to give our attendees a taste of Wynwood and the wonderful opportunities the neighborhood has to offer innovators.”
Bitcoin 2021 organizers and one of its local partners, BitBasel, have commissioned area artists to create a 120″ mural that showcases the history of currency, its evolution through time, and the impact of digital currency has had in the past couple of years. Local artists and organizers will be displaying the community mural outside the Mana Convention Center from June 3-4.
Organizers have also partnered with local entities to provide conference attendees, and bitcoin enthusiasts access to one-of-a-kind bitcoin activations and neighborhood-wide official satellite events. Click here for more information about the satellite events.
Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter and email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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