Just this week, Sam Bankman-Fried, onetime-billionaire CEO of crypto exchange platform FTX, pleased cryptocurrency skeptics fond of schadenfreude when he lost the vast majority of his wealth in a matter of days.
Bankman-Fried's company and bank account collapsed as investors rapidly pulled out of FTX, leaving him with a paltry fraction of his previous net worth, once estimated to have reached more than $20 billion. Competitor exchange Binance also pulled out of a deal to purchase FTX, sending Bankman-Fried scrambling for cash to keep his company afloat.
Meanwhile, the prominent cryptocurrency Bitcoin has been on a steady collision course over the past year. Bitcoin's price reached a low of about $16,000 per coin on November 9, down from an all-time high of $66,000 in November of 2021. Other cryptocurrencies are also facing an intense crash.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has been fairly quiet online about the recent news.
Normally quick to praise crypto and whatever latest tech craze wants to make its way to Miami, Suarez hasn't Tweeted anything regarding Bankman-Fried or Bitcoin in the past few weeks. In light of this, New Times has decided to climb in the Way Back Machine and gather up some tweets from America's crypto mayor that haven't aged so well with recent headlines in mind.
Peace, Prosperity and Laser Eyes
Before his fall to earth, the Icarus-like Bankman-Fried had entertained hopes of turning Miami into a global cryptocurrency hub. It would be the kind of epicenter of high-tech modern industry that everybody seems to be talking about but no one actually understands.
Overjoyed that your commitment to our community advances our efforts to be the most crypto friendly city on the planet. All I need to do now is figure out how to put the red laser dots on my eyes... 👀 😂 @SBF_Alameda @FTX_Official https://t.co/ZqGt1SgqvM— Mayor Francis Suarez (@FrancisSuarez) March 30, 2021
After his company bought the naming rights to American Airlines Arena last March, Bankman-Fried tweeted that he looked forward to bringing "peace and prosperity" to Miami residents through FTX's investment.
While that's hokey enough in its own right, Suarez piled on, with a signal boost tinged with a poor attempt at memeing.
"Overjoyed that your commitment to our community advances our efforts to be the most crypto friendly city on the planet. All I need to do now is figure out how to put the red laser dots on my eyes," Suarez responded.
(For reference, tech CEOs and self-avowed "meme lords" like to put red laser eyes on their online profile pictures. Yes, it's about as funny as it sounds.)
Welcome Home FTX
Last September, Bankman-Fried announced that FTX would be moving its headquarters to Miami, a place well-known for pie-in-the-sky pursuits.
Very honored to have your new US headquarters moving to the MIA. @FTX_Official is one of the most innovative companies on the planet and you @SBF_FTX are one of the most innovative technologists. Welcome HOME! https://t.co/YPiz9RS63G— Mayor Francis Suarez (@FrancisSuarez) September 27, 2022
Suarez retweeted Bankman-Fried (known on Twitter as SBF), saying he was honored to have the company come to his city.
"FTX is one of the most innovative companies on the planet and you SBF are one of the most innovative technologists. Welcome HOME!" Suarez tweeted.
In Miami, "innovative" is often synonymous with "full of it."
"It's why Bitcoin has become so valuable," Suarez tweeted last October before Bitcoin's 2022 plunge. "An unmanipulatable currency/store of value..."
It’s why bitcoin has become so valuable. An unmanipulatable currency/store of value… https://t.co/CQQFGgb3RC— Mayor Francis Suarez (@FrancisSuarez) October 28, 2021
The ironic comment was a quote tweet of Elon Musk's own jab at the idea that the U.S. should do a better job of taxing billionaires. Musk said it was "basic math" that taxing billionaires alone wouldn't fix the national debt.
A year later and both Bitcoin and Musk are both suffering massive losses.
Can You Pay Me in Bitcoin?
As part of his push to bring Miami onto the Bitcoin bandwagon, Suarez floated the idea of paying City of Miami employees in Bitcoin, even offering to take his own paycheck in the cryptocurrency.
Exploring:— Mayor Francis Suarez (@FrancisSuarez) February 12, 2021
• State legislative priority
• Paying employees in Bitcoin
• Investing City treasury in Bitcoin
We got it done ✅ pic.twitter.com/88laGvVbEG
While any rational observer could've seen how bad an idea that was at the time, considering the inherently volatile nature of crypto, the past 12 months have given a perfect example. Lucky for municipal workers, that plan never got off the ground.
Also lucky for Suarez: he apparently didn't have that much faith in cryptocurrency either. This July, the mayor revealed in his financial disclosures that he only held about $11,000 in cryptocurrency by December of 2021, which doesn't seem like a big vote of confidence from a mayor who also had two investment properties worth a combined $700,000 at the time.
In a September 2021 tweet, Suarez shared a clip from his spot on Fox Business touting the revolutionary idea behind "MiamiCoin," a municipal cryptocurrency meant to generate city funds when people "mine" or authenticate the coin. The idea was, in Suarez's words, that when people mined MiamiCoin, it would create benefits that "translate into a better quality of life for Miamians."
ICYMI my interview on MiamiCoin w/ @FoxBusiness— Mayor Francis Suarez (@FrancisSuarez) September 20, 2021
✅The revolutionary concept of @mineCityCoins
✅Understanding how it’s generated $5M+ for the City
✅How these benefits translate into a better quality of life for Miamians pic.twitter.com/ipewPwBMdw
Though the creators of MiamiCoin, an outfit called Citycoin, donated over $5 million to the city last June, the price of the coin has since taken a steep dive.
According to cryptocurrency price tracker Coinbase, MiamiCoin currently sits at a whopping $0.000617 — a nigh infinitesimal fraction of a cent.
The currency has basically flatlined in the past six months, showing almost no signs of life and losing almost all of its value. Suarez's Twitter, meanwhile, has been mum about the currency since February.
Bonus: Miami Is Alive
We're feeling generous, partly because by the end of the week we might be richer than Bankman-Fried, so we'll throw in an extra tweet from the unfortunate crypto entrepreneur. This one comes from a June 2021 thread in which Bankman-Fried lamented pandemic shutdowns and how much of the world treated cryptocurrency companies poorly.
4) the world made a choice for us: a choice to grind to a halt.— SBF (@SBF_FTX) June 6, 2021
In most places, it’s still mostly halted.
But Miami is alive.
"The world made a choice for us: a choice to grind to a halt," SBF tweeted. "In most places, it's still mostly halted. But Miami is alive."
Yes, Miami is still alive. But FTX? Possibly not for long.