Over the weekend, over 12,000 people descended on Miami to attend the largest Bitcoin conference in the world. It proved a boon to the city of Miami as it hosted the first major in-person business conference since the COVID-10 pandemic hit early in 2020.
The atmosphere was reminiscent of a music festival as Bitcoin enthusiasts from across the United States came together in Miami. There were guest speakers, concerts, and even a skateboarding performance from Tony Hawk.
Speakers included boxer Floyd Mayweather, former Congressman Ron Paul, skateboarder Tony Hawk, and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey. A world leader even gatecrashed the event to make a surprise announcement, and Paris Hilton posed for photos with happy attendees.
Erin Griffith, a New York Times reporter who headed to the conference, described it as such, "the city was a raging fireball of finance, technology, and joyful anarchy, of unfathomable wealth and desperate striving. The exuberance of being in person, indoors, in a crowd for the first time in more than a year was electric. Everyone hugged, no one masked. The money zipped between digital wallets. The conference swag included neon fanny packs, festival bracelets, and a Lamborghini car. The jargon — stablecoin, peer-to-peer, private key — flowed. So did the liquor.
It sounds more like a music festival than a finance conference
Is Miami the epicenter of crypto?
Miami mayor Francis Suarez was a big supporter of the event. In March, he said that Miami was "positioning ourselves as a city as one of the most tech-friendly cities in America” He even announced that the city would accept tax payments in cryptocurrency as well as pay employees in cryptocurrency should they request it. He also posted enthusiastically about the event over the weekend.
In March, FTX, a cryptocurrency exchange, won the naming rights to the entertainment venue previously known as American Airlines Arena, home to the NBA franchise Miami Heat. The deal was approved by the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners and is worth $135 million over 19 years.
On the second day of the event, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Danielle Cohen Higgins spoke to the sold-out crowd.
“This is an entire industry visit. These are businesses. These are financial industries and we want them to have a home and I think Miami-Dade County is the perfect home.”Miami-Dade County Commissioner Danielle Cohen Higgins
It certainly seems that Miami is keen to become home to crypto.
A world leader drops into the event
The president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, made a surprise appearance at the conference appearing virtually. President Bukele told a cheering Miami crowd that El Salvador might become the first country to make bitcoin legal tender. Bukele intends to propose a bill that could transform the remittance-dependent economy and make the country the first in the world to formally accept cryptocurrency as legal money.
“Next week, I will send to Congress a bill that makes bitcoin legal money. Thanks to the use of bitcoin, the amount received by more than a million low-income families increases by several billion dollars every year. This improves life and the future of millions of people.” President of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele
A successful event for Miami
Regardless of whether you are interested in cryptocurrency or follow the rollercoaster ride of Bitcoin, it seems the city of Miami is making a wise move to appeal to this industry.
Photos of the event are going viral. Influencers such as Paris Hilton are posting photos of Miami, and the event and the city are getting great exposure on a global stage.
Perhaps this event will become the Coachella for crypto investors.