Dec 102013
 

In many ways, a US resident could see the 19th Century as the New York Century with its transcontinental railroad terminals and Ellis Island, the 20th Century as the California Century with Hollywood and Silicon Valley, and the 21st Century as the South Florida Century with its transcultural population and strategic location.

Consider:

Miami is closer to dozens of foreign capitals than it is to Washington DC, geographically and metaphorically. No other region of the USA is as tightly woven into the fabric of the integrated global economy. Even the Home Depot stores in South Florida have export departments!

Only five major languages are spoken natively in the Western Hemisphere—English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Haitian/Antillean Creole—all of which are spoken wildely in Miami, often in the same sentence.

South Florida has no majority ethnicity or majority native language.

Metropolitan Miami is the seventh largest metropolitan area in the United States, and the fourth largest urbanized area in the USA, behind Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago.

Florida has no personal state income tax.

Miami is home to NAP of the Americas, one of the largest Internet landing points in the world, and it is one of the top five best-interconnected cities in the world, ahead of San Francisco, Chicago, and Washington DC.

For passengers, cargo, and money, South Florida is one of the world’s premier logistics hubs.

Miami’s financial district is home to the offices of more than 100 international banks.

The second-largest tourist attraction in the state of Florida, after Disney World, is Sawgrass Mills: a shopping mall west of Ft. Lauderdale that attracts shoppers from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Europe.

Of all the port complexes in the USA, only Miami/Ft.Lauderdale is a net exporter in terms of value. South Florida imports goods for local consumption, for both residents and the millions of tourists who pass through every year, and exports cars, machine parts, electronics, tools, and other high-value-added goods and services. All other ports in the USA are net importers.

Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale is home of the second-largest free trade zone in the USA and the largest exporter.

Port Everglades and Port of Miami vie annually for the top two positions as the world’s first- and second-busiest cruise ports.

Miami is home to EarlyShares, the equity crowdfunding portal, and it has a very active Bitcoin user base. Bitcoin startups in South Florida include Bitcoin Intel, Bitcountant, Coingig, and Conscious Trader. Companies based in South Florida that are embracing Bitcoin include SoftTouch and Tiger Direct.

Bitcoin’s highest and best use is in small-scale international trade. South Florida firms tend to be small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs). For every Silicon Valley / Wall Street Ten-Bagger with 10 million customers and countless broken hearts strewn about its feet, one will find 10 thousand South Florida SMEs with 1,000 customers each. This environment is ideal for Bitcoin entrepreneurs.

Added to this, Miami is at the interface of a region with more than a half-billion individuals in Latin America and the Caribbean who do not have easy access to capital markets, credit, or efficient banking services, and of the eight-million-pound gorilla of capital markets in the USA.

Already, Wall Street bankers have begun relocating in such large numbers that the Palm Beach County government has an office with full-time staff dedicated to helping them find neighborhoods with good schools. If Bitcoin and crowdfunding entrepreneurs follow them, South Florida could become the ‘Silicon Valley / Wall Street’ of transnational entrepreneurship.

Invest accordingly.

Prof. Evans

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