Dubai Private Equity Firm to Invest $4.8 Billion of Bitcoin in Miami

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In brief

  • IBC Group is creating the Miami 2.0 Blockchain Strategy Foundation.
  • Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has been trying to attract cryptocurrency firms and investment.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has been making the rounds promoting his city as a global cryptocurrency hub.

As it turns out, investors are taking him seriously. 

IBC Group, a Dubai private equity firm that invests in real estate and tech, has earmarked $4.8 billion in Bitcoin for the Magic City. According to a press release last week, IBC will use the 100,000 BTC to establish the Miami 2.0 Blockchain Strategy Foundation and support other projects.

“Making the largest Bitcoin investment in history is proof of our commitment to assisting cities adopt Blockchain, which we see as the key to enabling widespread adoption,” said IBC Chairman Khurram Shroff.

The investment in Miami is no coincidence, in more ways than one. In January, Mayor Suarez voiced his plan to make Miami “the most crypto competitive city in the world.” He’s subsequently hired a chief technology officer and forwarded a resolution to the city commission that would facilitate municipal use of Bitcoin. 

The city commissioners voted 4-1 to look for a vendor that could facilitate municipal payments of taxes and fees in cryptocurrency as well as for a third party that could make payments in Bitcoin to employees who chose that option. The city will also research whether to hold Bitcoin as a municipal asset. However, the city has made no promises that it would actually hire a vendor or hold Bitcoin on the city’s books.

IBC Group’s involvement in Miami makes sense in another way. The press release notes that real estate developer Burkhan World Investment, headed by CEO Shahal Khan, approached IBC; it has over $1 billion invested in Miami real estate projects. “Enabling investment into Real Estate utilizing Bitcoin as a collateral asset will further enhance its use case as a tool to create a hybrid investment vehicle for BTC holders,” said Khan.

Though Burkhan is new to Bitcoin investment, IBC is not. Shroff previously announced that he had invested 21,984 ETH (then worth $10 million) toward staking the Ethereum 2.0 proof-of-stake network. Shroff has kept his family’s net worth under wraps, but IBC Group has been investing in blockchain projects since at least 2014. In January 2018, on the downslope of the last bull run, he said his family had “substantial stakes in currencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dash, Ripple and many others.”

The Miami mayor’s office has not yet responded to a request for comment on whether it has had dealings with IBC. Decrypt also reached out to IBC for details about the Miami 2.0 Blockchain Strategy Foundation.

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