Fintech: Southeast News

Fintech Southeast News curated each weekday for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee

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Posted May 21, 2021

Encouraged by a cryptocurrency-friendly mayor, Miami is generating considerable buzz as a burgeoning technology hub, and local attorneys who work with startups and financial technology companies say they're fielding a lot of phone calls.

Mayor Francis Suarez has been aiming to bring technology startups and investors to Miami, and he's been particularly bullish on Bitcoin. Southern Florida has seen a string of high-profile arrivals over the last year, including the likes of Peter Thiel's Founders Fund, billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn's Icahn Enterprises, and Blackstone, which is working to open a technology office in downtown Miami.

It's not clear whether Suarez's Bitcoin proposals will come to fruition, or how permanent a tech migration to Miami could ultimately be. But entrepreneurs and investors are paying attention to the recent spike in interest, attorneys said. Here, Law360 takes a look at some of the reasons Miami could flourish as a fintech hub, as well as what challenges still remain.

Southern Florida has an existing startup scene as well as plenty of draws for new arrivals — the area has sunshine and no state income tax, local academic institutions supplying engineering talent, and, as Velvel Freedman of Roche Freedman LLP noted, an "efficient and excellent" court system.

The city also serves as a gateway to Latin American markets, said Sean Burstyn, a solo practitioner at Burstyn Law Firm PLLC.

"It's Little Cuba," said Burstyn, who is Cuban-American. "[Cubans] turned the city into a startup city in the pre-tech era, and that 'immigrant story' energy has never left. What we're seeing now is the overlap of that energy with technology."


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