City of Miami hires technology chief for digital currency drive

Miami has appointed its first ever Chief Technology Officer (CTO), with the remit to explore greater use of blockchain technology in the city, according to reports.

The city’s digital currency-friendly mayor Francis Suarez has already pledged to make Miami a hub for digital currency and blockchain businesses, with the appointment the city makes its latest step towards encouraging the local sector.

Saif Ishoof, formerly Vice President of Engagement for Florida International University, has been appointed to the role. According to Suarez, the CTO will “provide concierge services” to digital currency and blockchain businesses in the city, to encourage more firms to set up in the city.

Miami is currently looking to draw business away from other tech hubs, most notably Silicon Valley. Mayor Suarez said some firms report difficulties in setting up in Silicon Valley and other tech hubs due to the attitude of local agencies.

“There is an attitude that has been expressed by some leaders that says, ‘We don’t want you and we don’t need you. It’s the opposite of the ‘How can I help?’ attitude, ‘How can I grow this ecosystem?”

The mayor has been working with several notable names in the digital currency field in recent months to help make his vision a reality, meeting with the Winklevoss twins who run the Gemini exchange, as well as a number of other senior executives from across the digital currency and blockchain sector.

According to Suarez, the moves are part of a drive to make Miami the “most crypto competitive city in the world.”

The appointment of the CTO is the latest statement of intent from the city, as it competes to win a greater share of the national digital currency scene. If successful, the model could be used in other cities to help establish and nurture local tech sectors.

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