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Is Miami, Fla. becoming the Silicon Valley for Bitcoin?

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Bitcoin has been banned in China banking and deemed legal in a U.S. Senate Hearing. Miami International Bitcoin will be participating in the North American Bitcoin Conference slated for Miami Beach in January and feels it is at home here, according to the Miami Herald today.

Why does it fit into Southern Fla.? The answer is in the banking system. ‘The thing that's really exciting about Bitcoin is that, here in South Florida, we have a half billion people to the south of us who do not have access to a banking system that works well, capital markets, credit -- things that we take for granted,’ said Charles Evans, business professor at Florida Atlantic University and one of the founders of Miami International Bitcoin.

Southern Fla. is heavy in international business. ‘I fully expect that Miami could become the 'Silicon Valley' of small-scale international finance,’ said Evans, who will speak at the conference.

Proponents like Evans see Bitcoin as a potential payment solution that facilitates international trade without requiring currency exchange, especially in regions like the Caribbean and the Americas where cell phone and technology usage is increasing.

Bitcoin transacts through an electronic payment system; there is no financial data required to be held and hacked for future counterfeit cards to be sold. The Bitcoins can be held in a digital wallet or stored until needed for transaction. Users establish an online wallet using their local currency and exchange with other Bitcoin owners. As a payment system, it functions much like PayPal, but there are no charge fees and no credit cards are required. Merchants do not pay excessive merchant fees in transactions and interchange costs plus other fees.

As a currency, Bitcoin allows for a nearly universal system as units can be converted to local currencies, usually without fees.

Since Bitcoin can be transferred via smart phones, Carlos Parra, an economics professor at Florida International University, believes there's a chance to impact impoverished and under-served residents in countries like Venezuela.

‘If it turns out that Bitcoins end up having less volatility than the national currency, then people at the bottom of the pyramid in Venezuela,’ says Parra.

There is the technology question of virus attack. Sean Emmanuel co-founded Bot Revolt, a sort-of Bitcoin ‘antivirus,’ to help educate people about Bitcoin if they invest. Subscribers pay monthly or annually to have Bot Revolt monitor their Bitcoin exchanges to prevent illicit activity and hacking.

Education and monitoring are key by ‘Pushing out the word and getting people to understand that there are better ways to protect your Bitcoin is one of the tougher things in the world,’ Emmanuel says. He and his team, which is based in Pompano Beach, also plan to launch the beta version of the website Bitcoin Intel in January, to track price movements.

The 2014 conference will take place Jan. 24-26, and is expected to draw more than 500 members of the Bitcoin community. It hopes to bring together technology professionals, business people and policy makers to discuss the future of bitcoin.

A conference sponsor, BitPay, an electronic processor worldwide will be helping conference attendees pay for hotel bills, coffee shop and restaurants by providing the hotel and other businesses with transaction services.

Kenneth Metral created with his online marketplace Coingig. Metral is CEO of the Coingig site and works in South Miami with international partners. He said that he wants his site to become the ‘Amazon’ of bitcoin and avoid the fates of marketplaces that sold illegal goods or duped users, so there is a small verification process. Payment to the seller is withheld until the buyer receives the product.

This article appears online today in Arcamax email today.

If you would like to learn more about Bitcoin, its history, how it is calculated, tracked and many other details of its usage and status worldwide, please, view the articles listed in the suggested by author section.

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