Bitcoin-friendly mayors Francis Suarez of Miami and Eric Adams of New York City view blockchain technology as a way to increase equality and diversity in their respective cities, and also to disrupt authoritarian regimes.
At a panel discussion at fintech investment firm Inveniam’s Web 3-focused conference on Wednesday, Suarez said: “We have a generational opportunity to outmaneuver countries such as China, Russia, and other parts of the world that try to steal our technology.” He added that states that “ban technologies they cannot control commit a mistake,” and that the U.S. has to be ready to seize the opportunity to become a leader.
The event in Miami took place as that city and New York City race to become a hub for the fast-growing digital asset industry and attract blockchain businesses with high-paying jobs.
Adams stressed that blockchain technology can help combat income inequality and serve as a tool for giving incentives to residents. He said governments can use blockchain technology to send food stamps directly to digital wallets, put public records on the blockchain, or give out a dollar-to-dollar reimbursement for such products as healthy baby food.
He also said that he is “going to build a blockchain and crypto educational platform” for young people and will “give them cryptocurrency” to learn about the technology.
Earlier in his keynote speech, Suarez said Miami’s local government created “a back-office concierge service to help companies with onboarding and relocating” in the city.
Both mayors are known for their crypto-friendly agenda and public announcements to take their salaries in bitcoin. Adams, who was sworn in last Dec. 31, promised to convert his first three paychecks into the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. Suarez reiterated that he took all his pay in bitcoin starting in December.
Crypto has assumed a new focus in politics in recent weeks as the U.S. and ally countries attempt to isolate Russia from the global financial system with sanctions for invading Ukraine. The U.S. has been monitoring whether Russia has been using crypto to evade sanctions, and it has been pressuring crypto companies to join those from other industries in halting services for Russian nationals.
While China banned all cryptocurrency transactions in 2021 besides its central bank-issued digital currency, the U.S. government plans to create a regulatory framework for digital assets.