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Puerto Rico: Crypto Capital of the World (Especially During Blockchain Week)

Crypto innovator Brock Pierce wants to see more governments get behind blockchain innovation.

More than a year after the COVID-19 pandemic delayed plans for the inaugural Puerto Rico Blockchain Week, the event is in full swing with panels, pitch-meetings, and social events taking place across the capital city. Brock Pierce, the motivating force behind the event—as well as chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation, co-founder of Block.one, Blockchain Capital, Tether, Mastercoin, and Roundtable Media—sees Blockchain Week as further confirmation of the island's status as the world’s “crypto capital.”      

But this status doesn't mean the island leads in every category. Although Puerto Rico has attracted a high-profile "braintrust," Brock told Roundtable's Rob Nelson that the state of Wyoming edges out the island in at least one key area: the passing of laws to facilitate the formation of new companies in the space. Pierce also pointed to Miami as a contender for the future title of crypto capital. That city's mayor, Francis Suarez, has in recent months aggressively courted the crypto community and declared his intention to build the city's future on the blockchain, down to using the Algorand protocol to track particulates in the local air.   

“Miami is the most interesting city in the country right now in terms of the amount of innovators on the forefront of change,” Pierce said.

When it comes to national governments, Pierce pointed to El Salvador as a leader in embracing pro-crypto legislation. That country's president, Nayib Bukele, made headlines earlier this year when he adopted bitcoin as legal tender in the country. Pierce described the move as a case study in bitcoin’s ability to promote financial inclusion, noting that only 30% of Salvadorans have a bank account. Within weeks of Bukele's bitcoin law, nearly 50% of the population had downloaded a bitcoin wallet.

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“If a government wants to move and open the doors, it's probably easier than they think,” Pierce said. “You just have to show that you're in favor of innovation.“

Watch the full interview: