Speaking at a Bloomberg event Friday in Miami, Sternlicht said Bitcoin is a smart hedge for investors in a world that just “prints money.”
“If it goes to zero, it won’t hurt me,” he said.
Sternlicht also said he expects to see inflationary pressure on commodities from the U.S. stimulus package, exacerbating a housing shortage and driving up rents. Miami Beach-based Starwood has about $100 billion under management in real estate, debt and energy assets.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who said earlier last month he would take his next paycheck “100% in Bitcoin,” is seeking to expand the use of cryptocurrency across the city.
Residents would be able to pay fees and taxes in Bitcoin, and multiple employees will also get their salaries in the digital currency, Suarez said in a Bloomberg Television interview.
“For any city to survive and thrive, we need a knowledge-based economy,” he said.
The focus on cryptocurrency is part of a pivot toward the tech sector in the city, where the mayor is trying to draw more companies to move from higher-tax areas. He’s advocating for Miami to become a new center of digital finance.
The move to accept his pay through Bitcoin came in response to a question from investor Anthony Pompliano, who co-founded Morgan Creek Digital Assets before launching Pomp Investments in September 2020.
The Miami mayor also holds jobs as a lawyer and with a private equity firm. The tweet appeared to reference his public sector salary, which was set at $97,000 as of 2018. That salary is converted instantly into Bitcoin through the fintech company Strike, he said.
Shortly after Suarez’s tweet, New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams also said he would take his first three paychecks in Bitcoin when he takes over City Hall in January, also seeking to make the city a center for cryptocurrency.
Earlier this year, Miami launched a token called MiamiCoin, which Suarez said has generated $30 million in revenue over three months. Like New York City, he expects others to join in the competition to draw more cryptocurrency investments.
“Cities really only have two choices,” Suarez said at a Bloomberg event Friday in Miami. They can pretend it doesn’t exist, he said, “or they can face those realities, embrace that disruption, embrace the change.”
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