Ron DeSantis Will Explore Cryptocurrency Payments for Businesses’ State Fees

Governor Ron DeSantis, flanked by Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nu ez, Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett and Kevin Guthrie, Florida Division of Emergency Management Director, toured the site of the Champlain Towers South condominium and met with the media. Surfside Condo Day After Demo
MALCOLM DENEMARK/FLORIDA TODAY via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Thursday unveiled a proposal that would allow businesses the option to pay state fees with cryptocurrencies as part of the state’s budget for next year.

Fortune Magazine reports:

Speaking Thursday in Tallahassee, DeSantis also said the state would launch pilot programs to explore the use of blockchain technology for Medicaid payments and vehicle titles, with the latter running through the Department of Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

DeSantis, a Republican, is trying to harness Florida’s growing reputation as an emerging destination for crypto investment. He said crypto enthusiasts have flocked to South Florida, where officials and business boosters have embraced the industry. Even the Miami Heat’s basketball stadium was rebranded during the pandemic as FTX Arena, after the cryptocurrency exchange platform run by billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried.

“Our view as the state government is this is something that we welcome and we want to make sure that the state government is crypto-friendly,” DeSantis said of the plan.

Florida is home to one of the country’s most crypto-friendly cities in the U.S. — Miami — where Mayor Francis Suarez’s (R) hands on approach has helped attract a flurry of start-ups and venture capitalists from San Francisco and around the country. Miami plans to provide a “bitcoin yield” from the staking of its own cryptocurrency — MiamiCoin — to residents.

CoinDesk notes:

The yield comes from the staking of the city’s own cryptocurrency, MiamiCoin, which was introduced early this year and has already earned over $21 million in the past three months for Miami. Suarez noted that if you were to annualize that revenue, it would equal roughly one-fifth of Miami’s total annual tax revenue of $400 million.

Additionally, Suarez said he plans to take his entire salary in bitcoin.

However, the rapid growth of the Miami’s technology scene is also in large part due to DeSantis’ decision not to enact strict coronavirus mandates — unlike California, which has seen many Silicon Valley residents leave due to restrictions and rising taxes and crime.

On Tuesday, DeSantis reaffirmed his opposition to lockdowns as cases of the Omicron variant rise across the country.

“In Florida, we won’t let them lock ya down, we won’t let them restrict you, we’re not gonna let them impose mandates, we’re not gonna let them close the schools,” he said following a speech near Tampa Bay. “We are gonna protect your freedom to make your decisions.”

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