World

As Lionel Messi descends, Miami economy faces another turning point

230724 miami fishing pier ac 618p 013200

MIAMI — At the height of the Covid pandemic, Miami — the new home of soccer superstar Lionel Messi — emerged as an unlikely destination for individuals seeking an escape from lockdowns and a return to normal life — to the extent that was possible.


Long known as a “fun in the sun” hot spot whose economy had long struggled to diversify, the city was suddenly garnering headlines as a hot destination for financial groups, tech firms and entrepreneurs seeking relatively lax Covid protocols, with Florida’s lower tax burden as an added bonus.


The wave was also fueled by surging interest in cryptocurrency, as Miami became seen as a nexus for libertarians and the newly rich. The coastal city played host to the world’s largest Bitcoin conference for three consecutive years, drawing tens of thousands of attendees who saw the unveiling of a much-hyped crypto-bull statue.