Ron DeSantis Proposes Letting Businesses Pay With Cryptocurrencies

( To make Florida more friendly toward digital currency, Governor Ron DeSantis has proposed pilot programs that would permit businesses to pay some state fees using cryptocurrency.

DeSantis unveiled the plan as part of his $99.7 billion budget proposal for the 2022 legislative session. As part of his budget, DeSantis proposed $700,000 for crypto-related pilot projects exploring the use of blockchain technology that would allow the state to accept fees from Florida businesses in cryptocurrency.

In explaining the program, DeSantis said in his press conference on Thursday that cryptocurrency has become “a huge thing” in South Florida, so he wants the state as a whole to be more “crypto-friendly.”

Of the proposed spending, $250,000 would set up a pilot program where people could pay for vehicle title certificates through blockchain technology at the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

The Department of Financial Services would receive $200,000 to implement a similar crypto-payment service for businesses paying fees for incorporation to the Department of State.

The Agency for Health Care would receive $250,000 for a pilot program using blockchain technology to authenticate Medicaid transactions and identify possible Medicaid fraud.

In recent years, Miami has emerged as a crypto hub, becoming the Wall Street for crypto companies. Businesses like FTX, eToro, and are expanding their footprint in Miami thanks in large part to the efforts of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez who is a leading advocate for cryptocurrency.

Suarez has proposed integrating cryptocurrency in Miami’s city government, including allowing city workers the option to receive their pay in Bitcoin. In August, Suarez launched MiamiCoin, a cryptocurrency where investors or miners mint the token on Stacks which then transfers to CityCoins. Since its launch, CityCoins has sent $17.8 million to Miami.

Over the past year, several tech and financial firms have left New York and Silicon Valley for Miami, including, SoftBank, Goldman Sachs, and Blackstone.

The Florida legislature will take up the governor’s budget proposals during the legislative session beginning on January 11. A final budget is likely to be signed into law in late spring or early summer.