The ‘Gunshine State’ strives to evolve past the stereotypes that plague its reputation, diluting its geriatric population with blockchain bros

The idea of Florida reads to the coastal states as post-Trumpian America reads to the rest of the world. It’s simultaneously unhinged in behavior and old-fashioned in taste. It elicits images of the elderly wrinkling under a poolside sun, Florida Man headlines, rampant racism, and sloppy spring breakers overestimating their limits. But the “Gunshine State” is ready to evolve past its less-than-glamorous reputation—it’s actually desperate to.

Florida is propositioning itself to be the next tech hub. Following Orlando’s attempt to rebrand itself as “the next Silicon Valley,” Miami is staking its claim to become the world’s crypto capital. Its efforts to develop a Silicon Valley-esque standing were perhaps ineffective, due to its existing reputation which is more manic and off-kilter than its attempted counterpart’s socially uncomfortable and brainy persona. Crypto Valley, however, may be more plausible for the city, as blockchain technology’s user base consists of edgier, brink-of-society types who wet themselves in excitement at the idea of minimal regulation—qualities which are near synonymous with Florida.

Miami makes for a reasonable candidate for a crypto hub, as its Bitcoin ATMs are already an easy find in the city’s Wynwood neighborhood, the crypto exchange FTX has secured naming rights for the Miami Heat’s arena, and its mayor, Francis Suarez, is an active proponent of the financial medium. Suarez has introduced proposals that would allow Miami’s citizens to pay taxes with crypto and let employees collect salaries with it. As far as the US is concerned, Miami is crypto’s best bet as a safe haven.

Its competition would largely extend abroad, as American regulations are stricter than those in nations like Switzerland or Liechtenstein. But crypto is booming in America, and if Miami can enable legislation, Florida may have a real shot at a glow up.