By Riley Kaminer
Crypto exchange FTX has just announced plans to relocate its U.S. headquarters from Chicago to Miami, according to a tweet from CEO Sam Bankman-Fried.
It is unclear what exactly the relocation means in terms of the company’s physical footprint in South Florida. But longtime Miami resident Zach Dexter will lead FTX’s U.S. arm as its former leader, Brett Harrison, steps down. Dexter has been the CEO of FTX’s U.S. derivatives business since October 2021, when FTX acquired LedgerX, which Dexter ran at the time.
Bankman-Fried, known as SBF to his loyal followers, signaled that the move is part of FTX’s broader strategy to establish offices around the world. Bankman-Fried is betting that this global footprint will enable FTX to get its various businesses licensed in as many countries as possible. In September, FTX moved its global headquarters from Hong Kong to the Bahamas.
“Frankly, for us, having clear licensure for our marketplaces is by far the biggest piece of this, that’s what we’ve been focusing on,” Bankman-Fried said.
Mayor Francis Suarez, who has been very vocal about his vision to make Miami the world’s crypto capital, expressed his support in a tweet reply to Bankman-Fried. “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!”
FTX’s presence in Miami is nothing new. In 2021, FTX spent $135 million to secure naming rights to the Miami Heat’s arena. And various key executives have been actively involved in the Miami tech scene, including Avinash Dabir, their VP of Business Development. Of course, this announcement accelerates the company’s presence in our region.
The news has been received with excitement on social media. Native Miamian and former Facebook and Apple technologist Antonio García Martínez predicts that this is just the beginning of a trend: “Miami becoming a crypto finance hub is a hugely natural fit.”
“The city already is a banking hub to LatAm; this just increases the footprint into other very international and mobile capital,” he continued. “The ‘capital of capital’ indeed.”
Miami continues to grow as a crypto capital, managing to avoid some of the doom and gloom from the crypto winter plaguing markets for digital assets more broadly. And FTX is not alone: Blockchain.com is based in Miami, while other major crypto companies like eToro have made Miami their launchpad for U.S. growth.
But it’s not just crypto firms that are migrating south. In July, VC Andreessen Horowitz shared its plans to open an office in Miami Beach. Earlier this summer, hedge fund Citadel announced that it would also relocate its headquarters from Chicago to Miami.
If you can’t avoid the crypto winter, at least you can avoid the Chicago winter.
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