The Miami Beach Convention Center was hopping last week as participants swarmed to attend the Bitcoin 2022 Conference. With the pandemic dismissing any possible gathering the past two years, cryptocurrency fans made sure to take this opportunity to come out and make their presence known. Over 25,000 people were in attendance each day at the convention center, which was designed as a literal crypto universe. A giant moon hung from the ceiling, reminding attendees to always reach higher. A huge Mars replica couldn’t be missed just a little further away. A spreadsheet was passed around listing details about the many scheduled parties. Fog machines were activated and dance music blared. All the big names of the crypto world were in attendance, if not on stage speaking.
When Bitcoin was first released in 2009, conferences barely attracted more than a dozen attendees. There weren’t enough people willing to take Bitcoins that were being distributed for free. Now, the crypto coin and industry in general has multiplied immensely.
The excitement was clear and the fervor could be felt at the gathering in Miami. With the paramount hustle and bustle throughout the convention center, the energy was contagious. Through all the glitz, though, there was a clear focal point – a 40-foot volcano adorned with the Bitcoin 2022 logo, proudly displaying the ambitious future of crypto. Another impossible-to-miss site was a mechanical bull, again sending the message of a bright future. The lucky participant who rode it the longest was to be awarded a single Bitcoin.
Even before the convention ended, participants were already expressing anticipation for next year’s. Will future crypto gatherings outdo the glamour of Bitcoin 2022? We’ll have to wait to find out!
Newly-elected New York City Mayor Eric Adams, and recently re-elected Miami Mayor Francis Suarez both want their first payments as mayor to be in cryptocurrency.
Adams made his announcement on social media, saying that he would like to have his first three months’ worth of salary transferred to him in the form of bitcoin. Since the currency’s launch in 2009 it has been extremely volatile—from about $1,000 at the end of 2013 to $66,000 in late 2021, with lots of ups and downs in between.
Both Adams and Suarez want to make their respective cities “the center of the cryptocurrency industry” and “a hub for cryptocurrency innovation.”
“In New York we always go big, so I’m going to take my first three paychecks in bitcoin when I become mayor,” wrote Mr. Adams on Twitter
“NYC is going to be the center of the cryptocurrency industry and other fast-growing, innovative industries! Just wait!”
Adams was elected in early November 2021 as New York’s second Black mayor.
Suarez established in August 2021 a new cryptocurrency called MiamiCoin, run by an non-profit organization called CityCoins. The group sends 30% of the value of the currency that is created on someone’s computer to Miami. So far the city has raised over $7 million in this way. Adams stated that he would like to create a similar non-profit as well.
The International Port Corp, a Miami-based shipping company, is the first US company to open a staffed office in Cuba since restrictions on US trade with Cuba have been eased.
A number of companies have applied for and have been given licenses from the US government to open operations in Cuba, but so far only IPC has followed through. Owner and President of IPC, Larry Nussbaum, said that his company rented a warehouse in Havana from the government of Cuba. It is staffed with six employees who were hired by a Cuban government employment agency. IPC pays the employment agency.
“The opportunities are great. Cuba is open for business,” Nussbaum said. “Now we need the American legislation to make it legal for companies like mine to expand what we can legally do in Cuba.”
IPC was first awarded their license to ship between Miami and Havana in July 2012 on humanitarian grounds. Since that time Nussbaum has expanded his company to also include commercial shipments and cargo for diplomats, by air and sea.
Despite the lifting of restrictions there has not been a serious upsurge in shipments to Cuba because Cuba is not buying too much from the US right now. The main problem is that the US embargo does not allow the offer of credit to Cuban purchasers of US products, so there is no competition in the market.
“The growth of my business is dependent on the U.S. making more activities legal,” Nussbaum said.