“I Still Take Salary in Bitcoin”, Miami Mayor Suarez Says at Davos

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, recently, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez told a panel that despite the crash that sent crypto prices down almost 40% over the previous two months, he is still taking his city salary in Bitcoin.

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The Republican mayor mentioned that he is more focused on the utility of the flagship digital currency. He stated that the plunge of the TerraUSD stablecoin has not changed his vision for promoting the cryptocurrency industry in the city.

Suarez, a 44-year-old lawyer, further pointed out that “tremendous volatility” exists in tech stocks as well. The Miami mayor noted the difference between protecting people from losses and protecting people from fraud: “Government has had time to try and protect people against losses, and you can’t protect people against losses. That’s the American system. That’s what makes investing. That’s the risk component to winning as well.”

Paying Way for a Crypto-Centric Future

Suarez has been taking action to promote Miami city as a hub for crypto giant Bitcoin. In February last year, the vocal mayor disclosed plans to transform Miami into a tech innovation hub and how he embraces Bitcoin and cryptocurrency.

The mayor has been selling his city as the world’s cryptocurrency capital and wants it to be on the next wave of innovation.

In June last year, Suarez convinced organizers of the Bitcoin 2021 conference to hold the event in Miami.

Suarez secured a second term in his office and announced that he would accept 100% of his salary in Bitcoin last November. He even touched on paying employees with Bitcoin, encouraging businesses to accept the crypto for payments, and investing city funds in the cryptocurrency. He clarified that Miami would not be enforcing that city employees accept Bitcoin.

The notion made him popular in the crypto community and advanced his rebranding campaign. His efforts have won him campaign donations from tech investors and attracted funds to develop Miami’s rising tech sector.

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Fintech Firm Milo To Provide Cryptocurrency Mortgage Services

More innovations keep springing up to fascinate and intrigue digital investors with increased cryptocurrency adoption. In line with that, Milo, a fintech startup based in Miami, introduced the first global crypto mortgage.

Through the bank’s offer, digital investors have the opportunity of buying real estate in the U.S. by using their cryptocurrencies.

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The offer from Milo, a digital bank, runs as 30-year mortgage loans. These are currently accessible to customers that could place collaterals with Bitcoin. This offer is open to both Americans and other investors to acquire real estate in the United States.

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According to the official website of Milo, the bank advises that customers don’t have to qualify for the mortgage through the sale of their crypto holding for a down payment. Instead, using a crypto mortgage will help you leverage your assets to invest in real estate.

Some customers have received loan grants from Milo as part of an early-access stage. Subsequently, the digital bank anticipates that its service will get to most applicants on its waiting list.

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In January 2021, the digital bank generated $6 million from investors. Including Metaprop, 10X Capital, and QED Investors in seed funding.

Currently, the amount of BTC for footing a loan or the collateral to balance the volatile nature of the cryptocurrency is unknown. Unfortunately, Milo is yet to disclose this information.

What Inspired The Cryptocurrency Mortgage?

Milo’s CEO and founder, Josip Rupena, mentioned the origin of the vision for the crypto mortgage. He said that it came from the numerous experiences of customers who cashed out their Bitcoin token for buying property. However, they will later discover a rise in the value of BTC after their cash out.

Furthermore, the digital bank already has millions of dollars generated from its other mortgage solution for international customers. This now has several applicants from more than 63 countries. Through this service, non-U.S.-based users can remotely close their housing loans. They do not need to move to the U.S. or any embassy.

The Mayor of Miami, Francis Suarez, stated that the BTC mortgage stands as a milestone to enhance U.S. dominance with the Bitcoin ecosystem.

Mayor Suarez said this on Monday during an introduction of Rupena at the North American Bitcoin Conference. Moreover, commended Milo for its innovative ideas, saying that it’s one of the companies needed to push Miami as the Capital.

Related Reading | Bitcoin Whales Take Advantage Of Market Crash To Gobble Up Millions In BTC

Before Milo, there has been a previous move towards a crypto mortgage. United Wholesale Mortgage, in August 2021, initiated an action for crypto mortgage repayments in its pilot program that was using both BTC and ETH. However, the company later abandoned its plans by October due to uncertainty in regulation.

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Major City Investing One-Percent of Its Treasury in Crypto, Mulling Possible Bitcoin Tax Discount

Another major metropolis is jumping headfirst into the world of crypto by investing in the digital space and proposing discounts for citizens paying taxes in Bitcoin (BTC).

Rio de Janeiro, the South American city of almost 7 million people, now plans to invest 1% of its treasury funds into crypto.

According to Brazilian newspaper O Globo, Rio de Janeiro mayor Eduardo Paes announced the new investment strategy at Rio Innovation Week on Thursday.

Pedro Paulo, Rio’s secretary of finance, says the city may offer discounts to residents who pay their property taxes in Bitcoin.

“We are studying the possibility of paying taxes with an additional discount if you pay with Bitcoins.

You take the discount of the single quota of 7%, it would be 10% if you pay in Bitcoin.

Let’s study the legal framework so that we can do that.”

Paes spoke at the Rio Innovation event with Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, another mayoral BTC supporter.

Suarez has publicly attempted to position Miami as a hub for crypto. The South Florida city’s government voted in September to accept millions of dollars generated by MiamiCoin (MIA), the city’s very own digital asset.

First announced in June, crypto development company CityCoins Inc. launched the decentralized altcoin in August. MIA had generated more than $21 million in revenue as of November.

Suarez also announced in November that the South Florida city planned to develop digital wallets for users to receive Bitcoin payments derived from the MiamiCoin project. Users will have the ability to stake their MIA and receive passive Bitcoin dividend yields from the token, according to the mayor.

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Miami Mayor Francis Suarez to Take Part of his 401K Retirement Funds in Bitcoin

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has doubled down again on his love for Bitcoin (BTC) in an interview with Real Vision, promising that he plans to take a part of his 401K retirement savings fund in the digital currency. 

“It’s a personal choice,” Suarez told Real Vision Managing Editor Samuel Burke. “I just think it is a good asset to be invested in. I think it’s one that’s obviously going to appreciate over time. It’s one that I believe in.” 

Suarez has already commenced plans to take the funds in Bitcoin, a move that will be largely complementary to his earlier move to take a part of his salary in BTC. From his stance with Samuel Burke, the receipt of the retirement funds in Bitcoin is billed to commence as early as 2022 as Suarez replied “Oh yeah! Definitely,” to a question that sought to know if the move will start next year.

Bitcoin is not in a good place at the moment as the digital currency has slumped by over 25% in the past month. Suarez said that his confidence in the digital currency and its underlying blockchain is unwavering despite this bad price outlook.

“Blockchain has succeeded so well because people have confidence in it,” Suarez said. “They have confidence in it because they see that it’s an open-source and an un-manipulatable system. And I think that is the source of the popularity and why it’s done so well.”

The interest in Bitcoin has pushed the Miami Mayor to introduce some innovative programs that are hinged on engrafting blockchain technology in the city. The mayor launched the Miami Coin project earlier this year, through which it hopes to distribute Bitcoin Yield to citizens. An additional forward-thinking move is that the city residents can receive their remunerations in Bitcoin, a pioneering move in the United States.

Miami and its re-elected mayor are undoubtedly a good force helping to push the adoption of digital currencies and blockchain technology into the mainstream.

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Navigating CityCoins: Miami citizens to earn Bitcoin despite the city not holding crypto

Miami is quickly becoming the crypto capital of the United States. In August of this year, the Magic City was the first state in the U.S. to launch MiamiCoin (MIA), its very own cryptocurrency used for civic engagement. A few months later, Mayor Francis Suarez announced that every Miami resident with a digital wallet will be eligible to receive a Bitcoin dividend. 

While such a proposal would make Miami the first city in America to provide a Bitcoin (BTC) yield to its residents, Mayor Suarez told Cointelegraph that the City of Miami does not actually own or hold MiamiCoin, or any cryptocurrency for that matter.

According to Suarez, CityCoins is an independent community acting in its own capacity. “CityCoins launched MiamiCoin as a way for citizens to engage more intimately with their cities and their governments,” said Suarez. He further remarked that part of CityCoins’ mission is to build up the cities they aim to support by gifting 30% of all mining rewards to their namesake city.

Since rewards are distributed in cryptocurrency, CityCoins acts as a custodian of Miami’s rewards until they are converted into dollars and formally gifted to the City. Suarez explained:

“The reason Miami residents will be able to earn dividends in Bitcoin is because prior to the City receiving the cash gift from CityCoins, CityCoins can reinvest the rewards from MiamiCoin and earn a yield in Bitcoin. It is my intention that Miamians receive every cent of that yield. A community that invests in its city deserves to have that money reinvested back into the community.”

Patrick Stanley, community lead of CityCoins, further told Cointelegraph that since mining began for MiamiCoin on Aug. 4, Miami has generated over $22 million dollars. More importantly, Stanley pointed out that this amount is denominated in Stacks’ STX token. This is the case since CityCoins is a project built on Stacks, which is an open-source network of decentralized applications and smart contracts built adjacent to the Bitcoin blockchain.

According to Stanley, STX is yielding a 10% annual percentage yield in Bitcoin. Given this, he believes that in the next five to 10 years, every Miami resident could receive a couple hundred or even thousands of dollars per year in BTC if this approach continues. Stanley elaborated:

“The City of Miami will experiment with the BTC generated from their treasury to give their citizens USD. This is very powerful, as Mayor Suarez essentially activated all citizens to become supporters of the MiamiCoin protocol, which will also allow people to mint NFTs, build applications, and provide for crypto payments.”

Given the potential of MiamiCoin, Suarez remarked that he aims to allow every Miami resident the opportunity to partake in the crypto and blockchain movement. Stanley added that over $150,000 worth of art has been minted using MiamiCoin and that the protocol can also fuel smart contracts.

CityCoins adoption timeline remains unclear

While MiamiCoin appears to be thriving, Suarez shared that he is fully aware of the legal hurdles and complexities that may arise from community adoption. “There’s no way to know how quickly we can make this into a reality,” he said.

Even though this is the case, it’s become clear that other innovative U.S. cities plan to follow Miami’s lead for implementing a CityCoin. Most recently New York City launched “NewYorkCityCoin” (NYCCoin), which occurred shortly after Mayor-elect Eric Adams stated that he wanted to turn New York into a crypto-friendly city. Stanley noted that a New York CityCoin was then voted on by the community once Adams mentioned the idea. “New York leapfrogged San Francisco because Mayor-elect Eric Adams was outspoken about the initiative,” explained Stanley.

Related: What can Eric Adams do? The limits of turning New York City into a crypto hub

Yet actions may speak louder than words in the case of CityCoins’ success rate. For instance, a Cointelegraph article recently pointed out that New Yorkers are unable to legally mine NYCCoin because residents have no compliant way of purchasing STX tokens. This is the case since the coin isn’t available on any exchange holding a BitLicense, which is required for residents purchasing crypto in New York City.

Interestingly enough, at the time of writing, over $7 million has been generated from mining NYCCoin since mining began on Nov. 11. Yet Stanley noted that one doesn’t need to be a resident of the city that CityCoin represents in order to mine it:

“MiamiCoin is an open-membership protocol. You only need a web wallet and to choose the CityCoin you wish to mine and then forward over the Stack’s payment.”

Stanley added that an Austin CityCoin may be next, given Austin Mayor Steve Adler’s interest in cryptocurrency.

Crypto education a driving factor for CityCoin adoption

Challenges aside, it’s important to point out that crypto education may be a driving factor for cities wishing to adopt CityCoins. For example, Adams recently mentioned that he wants crypto education taught in New York City schools.

Echoing Adams, Suarez explained that Miami has identified the need for a more comprehensive educational curriculum in order to prepare students for the next generation of technology and finance:

“We’re already exploring the expansion of Miami’s charter school network in an effort to deliver this more industry-tailored education. The City of Miami currently has $20 million reserved in its designated wallet and we are expecting to receive $4 million–$5 million sometime this week. We have a lot of ideas for how we can spend the money, and we fully intend to listen to the community’s input as to how to deploy the funds.”

While the idea of crypto education is on the horizon for both New York City and Miami, Suarez added that a six-month freeze has been placed on spending any MiamiCoin funds in order to best assess community needs. “We’re already speaking to a number of leaders in the Bitcoin community to explore wallet options and technologies like Lightning — we’re going to take our time making sure we get the technology and education pieces right,” he said.