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Miami City to Disburse $21M in Locally Mined Crypto to Citizens

3 mins
Updated by Ryan James
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In Brief

  • Mayor Francis Suarez of Miami wishes soon to cash out a $21M crypto wallet to distribute to citizens.
  • The project is one amongst a few to make bitcoin a part of life in Miami.
  • New York City is the latest edition to CityCoins, the nonprofit that allowed the Miami government to amass $21M.
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Miami’s citizens set to cash in, as mayor set to disburse $21M held in a city crypto wallet to all 442,000 of them.

“It’s a major priority for the city to be able to pay government employees in Bitcoin,” said Miami Mayor Francis Suarez in an interview with Bloomberg’s Emily Chang. This has had a say in the stash of $21M that the City of Miami has been amassing since August. The amassing of these funds has been the result of a nonprofit called CityCoins, which has opened a digital wallet and a new digital currency called MiamiCoin for all Miami citizens to access. Citizens can mint new tokens using their personal computers and earn a percentage of the tokens they create. The city gets 30 percent, while the users get 70%. One MiamiCoin is worth approximately $0.02, but miners have generated more than $21M for the city since August. Now the city is looking to cash out, and each of the 442,000 citizens of Miami will receive approximately 0.0007 BTC, which is about $47. 

The mayor said the creation of digital wallets for each citizen presents a technical challenge, for which he hopes to enlist the help of cryptocurrency exchanges. After that, a digital registration system will be created to lower the chance of fraud and of people moving to Miami just to receive Bitcoin. Then the payout will be made in bitcoin. The mayor wants to make the payment in bitcoin to conscientize people and get them used to the idea of bitcoin, even as government salaries stand to be paid in bitcoin.

Mayor Suarez is going full-steam ahead

The CityCoins project aligns with Mayor Suarez’s plan to pitch Miami a business-friendly environment for tech companies, offering low taxes. The mayor has been in talks with mining companies to set up mining operations near a power plant in South Florida. In February 2021, Suarez brought a proposal to city commissioners to allow Miami to invest its funds in Bitcoin. Still, state statutes do not permit local governments to hold volatile assets like Bitcoin.

Mayor Suarez has said that he is working with the Miami-Dade County Commissioner to allow citizens of Miami to pay taxes in bitcoin.

MiamiCoin relies on a lower-level cryptocurrency called Stacks. Miners can mint Stacks, and forward them to CityCoins, creating MiamiCoins. Miami’s city wallet converts deposited tokens into U.S. dollars, and city government officials can determine when to cash out. Anyone can download the MiamiCoin software, which raises legal concerns.

New York, New York

CityCoins initially developed the token following the Miami mayor’s online interaction with New York mayor-elect Eric Adams. Mr. Adams has promised to make New York a crypto-friendly city when he takes office. A community-led crypto project has been one of the first signs that he is going to be able to make good on his word. Patrick Stanley, a CityCoins community lead, told Bloomberg that the nonprofit voted that New York City and Austin were next to receive their own coins. New York was selected as the first city. The New York City coin is called NYCCoin, and the coin mining began on Nov. 10, 2021. The city will earn money because the NYCCoin exists, according to Stanley.

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David Thomas
David Thomas graduated from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in Durban, South Africa, with an Honors degree in electronic engineering. He worked as an engineer for eight years, developing software for industrial processes at South African automation specialist Autotronix (Pty) Ltd., mining control systems for AngloGold Ashanti, and consumer products at Inhep Digital Security, a domestic security company wholly owned by Swedish conglomerate Assa Abloy. He has experience writing software in C,...