“Everyday like Mardi Gras, everybody party all day. No work all play, okay,” Will Smith sang in the late 90s of Miami, a city synonymous with hip nightclubs, long sandy beaches and lots of bling since a well-known television series a decade ago at the latest.A reputation the town has struggled to undo.For many businesses, it has long been much more than a party mile in sunny Florida.
In recent years, Miami has made a name for itself internationally as a blockchain hotspot, particularly in the area of NFTs and art tokenization. Many renowned companies with an international vocation have set up their headquarters in Miami, many artists frolic in the city, adapting technology and pushing it forward.
Miami as a hub for NFTs
“Miami has become a hub for cryptocurrencies and NFTs (non-fungible tokens) – the city’s appeal attracts innovators, investors and entrepreneurs excited about the future of blockchain technology,” Alexander said. Daamen, head of Berlin Finance Initiative USA. In 2021 alone, $5.33 billion was invested in late-stage startups in South Florida. A total of 62 deals took place in 2021 with a volume of nearly US$2.3 trillion, of which 16% of venture capital funding went to web-based start-ups3 (pdf).
Additionally, Miami is particularly attractive to a Latin American community, which also has an effect on the influx of tech talent. For example, Miami saw a 30% increase in net immigration of software and IT workers to the region in 2021, ahead of tech hubs like Phoenix (Arizona), Austin (Texas) or Atlanta. (Georgia).
Berlin is an important fintech hub in the world
“Without a doubt, Miami has become one of the Web3 hubs globally. This affects CeFi, but also the DeFi sector, but especially the NFT scene,” says Christopher May, founder of Finoa, an asset custodian cryptographic for institutional investors and thus a flagship fintech in Berlin, about the US hub im South.
So (no) competition for Berlin? After all, the German capital is positioning itself (alongside London and Paris) as one of Europe’s leading fintech/blockchain locations. No other city is home to so many fintechs, and nowhere is the volume of funding for them as high as there.
After all, seven of Germany’s 19 unicorns are based in Berlin, including fintechs such as N26, Mambu and wefox. 38% (out of a total of 350) of all German fintechs have their headquarters in the capital. It’s something!
Blockchain has a long tradition in Berlin
And when it comes to blockchain, Berlin also has a head start: more than half of German blockchain startups are based in Berlin. For 13% of Berlin start-ups, blockchain has a major impact on their business model. (Berlin Startup Monitor 2020). With over 100 blockchain start-ups and numerous incubators, accelerators, investors and research institutes, Berlin has one of the most active and strong blockchain ecosystems in the world.
“While you often meet tech-savvy ‘Crypto OGs’ in Berlin, with whom you can wonderfully discuss the merger, zk roll-ups and Ethereum’s censorship resistance, I feel that the Web3 community in Miami isn’t as technically inspiring. their way. Note here how a completely different cohort has been brought onto the blockchain via NFT use cases. And that’s perfect, because that’s the only way mass adaptation works,” says Julian Grigo, CEO of Solarisbank.
Two cities with additional trade potential
Miami – Berlin, it seems that the two cities have a lot to say to each other. Exchange as competition? This is exactly what the Berlin Finance Initiative is focusing on, which has set itself the task of strengthening dialogue and building a transatlantic bridge between Berlin and certain technology cities. In December this year, the initiative was on site with representatives from Berlin and met with Web3 companies based there. “We discussed failures and scandals and learned lessons in the areas of regulation, transparency and communication,” explains Achim Oelgarth, initiator of the BFI. After all, there are enough use cases: from fashion to crypto wallets, from NFTs to DeFi banking.
Peter Großkopf, founder of Unstoppable Finance knows: “DeFi will be able to exploit its long-term advantages if the different markets, unlike the very fragmented traditional financial world, develop common (also regulatory) standards at an early stage.” According to him, the United States is already considering the MiCA in Europe. “If regulatory regimes are aligned, the internationalization of financial services will become easier for market participants,” he continues.
FTX bankruptcy hits Miami hard
However, dark shadows have fallen over Miami. The city has been hit hard by the bankruptcy of crypto exchange FTX and is questioning many of the decisions made in recent years. It is not yet known what effects the bankruptcy will have on the city and beyond. In the summer of that year, FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was still celebrated as a child prodigy, but was jailed in December. After huge outflows, the mall collapsed within days and billions in customer funds could not be disbursed.
“Miami has attracted a large number of founders to the city over the past few years. The money can be seen in many places,” says Christopher May, but warns, “However, it remains to be seen how the current bear market will affect the scene and how many developers Miami can retain for the long term.” words: what new innovations will come in the future will come from space.Because tech talent is where the interesting developments happen – greetings from the Valley, Texas – and Berlin.
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