Francis Suarez discloses value of cryptocurrency investment

Francis Suárez, alcalde la ciudad de Miami, placed the newly inaugurated statue “Miami Bull”, last April 6, 2022, in the Centro de Convenciones de Miami Beach.

Francis Suárez, alcalde la ciudad de Miami, placed the newly inaugurated statue “Miami Bull”, last April 6, 2022, in the Centro de Convenciones de Miami Beach.

jiglesias@elnuevoherald.com

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez held more than $10,000 in cryptocurrency at the end of 2021, financial disclosure documents show.

The records offer a first glimpse of the personal digital currency holdings of a mayor who has marketed his city as a rising crypto hub, and they show that in 2021, his investment in real estate still far outpaced his stake in cryptocurrency.

As of Dec. 31, 2021, Suarez held a cryptocurrency account with $10,761.49, according to his disclosure paperwork filed June 28. Suarez also listed two investment properties in Miami with a combined value of about $700,000.

The crypto account is with Strike, a mobile payment application that uses Bitcoin to send and receive money and cover the crypto back into US dollars.

The disclosure documents, required by law, offer a snapshot in time of the mayor’s crypto holdings. Each summer, elected officials are required to disclose assets and liabilities in excess of $5,000 for the preceding tax year.

The documents do not show the mayor’s current investment in cryptocurrency, which is likely to change from day to day, given crypto’s volatility. The Miami Herald has asked Suarez to detail his current holdings. He did not immediately return a request for comment.

Suarez’s promotion of cryptocurrency has made him popular among enthusiasts in the tech sector. He’s backed statewide legislation that would allow the use of cryptocurrency to grow, and he’s pushed for Miami to study ways it can conduct municipal business with cryptocurrencyincluding helping municipal employees convert their pay into crypto.

The mayor has promoted a pro-crypto agenda beyond Miami city limits. When he was sworn in as the president of the US Conference of Mayors earlier this year, he pledged to ask other mayors to sign a “mayoral crypto compact” that would promote the use of cryptocurrency.

Suarez is also a target of scrutiny among skeptics who see crypto as an unregulated financial system that can facilitate illegal activity, as well as a drain on energy resources because of the computing power necessary to mine digital assets. He’s been criticized for his support of MiamiCoin, a cryptocurrency created by an outside entity that has yielded more than $5 million in donations to the city. The value of the coin has dropped about 98% since its highest point shortly after it launched in the fall of 2021.

The value of Bitcoin recently fell sharply as cryptocurrency plunged into a bear market. In May, while Suarez was in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum, he told reporters he was still converting his city salary to Bitcoin, even as its value dropped. He noted that his city salary was not his only income.

Suarez, 44, has two other jobs besides being mayor. He is an attorney at litigation firm Quinn Emanuel and is also senior operating partner at Coral Gables private equity firm DaGrosa Capital Partnerswhere he helps lead the firm’s acquisition initiatives and domestic and international investment platform.

Suarez’s financial disclosures list his $1.4 million Coconut Grove home and the two investment properties, along with about $840,000 in two bank accounts. With about $1.6 million in liabilities, he listed his net worth at about $1.3 million.

Joey Flechas covers government and public affairs in the city of Miami for the Herald, from votes at City Hall to neighborhood news. He won a Sunshine State award for revealing a Miami Beach political candidate’s ties to an illegal campaign donation. He graduated from the University of Florida.

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