MiamiCoin Going Mainstream ‘Faster Than Bitcoin,’ Mayor Suarez Says

“It could have wide use and applicability,” the mayor says of the token created by private actors for his city’s benefit.

AccessTimeIconSep 23, 2021 at 6:52 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 7:07 p.m. UTC

MiamiCoin (MIA), the cryptocurrency created by private actors to benefit the 44th-largest U.S. city, may have a better shot at everyday use than bitcoin, Mayor Francis Suarez said Thursday.

In an appearance on CoinDesk TV’s “First Mover,” Suarez, who is working to attract crypto businesses to Miami, claimed MIA has “been mainstreaming significantly faster than bitcoin,” even though you can’t yet buy anything with the token.

He noted that the coin is trading for pennies, which Suarez suggested may make holders more willing to spend it than bitcoin, which changed hands Thursday afternoon at $44,639.18.

“What’s interesting about bitcoin is that its use case has essentially been a store of value, and the question is, does MiamiCoin remain a store of value ... or does it have a different use case?” Suarez said. “We feel that if MiamiCoin metamorphoses into a currency ... there exists a possibility that it could have wide use and applicability.”

MIA runs on the Stacks protocol, which in turn runs on top of the Bitcoin network. People can “mine” MIA by sending STX, the native token of Stacks, to a smart contract, which forwards 30% of those contributions to a wallet reserved for the city. Last month, the city voted to accept those funds, now worth $7 million. Suarez said Thursday the project is generating over $2,000 every 10 minutes for the municipality.

MIA has jumped more than 10 times in value since its August debut, to around 4 cents, which Suarez said shows how “exciting Miami is in the crypto world.” Regarding concerns of a potential crash of the token, the mayor reiterated that the city “bears no liability whatsoever for people’s investment decisions.”

“There’s absolutely no reason to believe that it wouldn’t be volatile based on the way bitcoin has performed,” he cautioned.

The coin is listed on just one exchange, Okcoin, which is also advertising an “estimated” (but not guaranteed) 430% yield (paid in STX) for customers who deposit MIA on the platform for lending. Okcoin announced last month it was opening a Miami office.

Suarez sounded nonplussed when asked about that 430% offer, which is high even compared to the bank-beating rates of the crypto lending and decentralized finance (DeFi) markets.

“I don’t know exactly how they earn that yield,” Suarez said. “Maybe you can try it out with a dollar and see if you get that kind of a yield, and it works or not.”


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Helene Braun

Helene is a New York-based reporter covering Wall Street, the rise of the spot bitcoin ETFs and crypto exchanges. She is also the co-host of CoinDesk's Markets Daily show. Helene is a graduate of New York University's business and economic reporting program and has appeared on CBS News, YahooFinance and Nasdaq TradeTalks. She holds BTC and ETH.