Florida bitcoin and blockchain summit comes to Tampa Bay; Cathie wood to keynote

OCT 20, 2021

The Florida Bitcoin and Blockchain Summit is coming to Tampa Bay, bringing with it a smorgasbord of business and political leaders and featuring Cathie Wood of ARK Invest fame as its keynote speaker.

Held Nov. 4-5, the summit is billed as the first “blockchain and fintech in Florida” focused event, highlighting the ever-expanding financial technology industry. In addition to Wood, who recently relocated her ARK Investment firm to St. Petersburg from New York, the event will bring together stakeholders from across the state and beyond to collaborate on a strategy that drives growth in the emerging industry.

Other notable speakers include Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and Nuke Goldstein, co-founder of the Celsius Network, which recently raised $400 million for its blockchain and cryptocurrency endeavors and is a lead sponsor of the summit. St. Pete Catalyst Publisher Joe Hamilton will also have a booth at the event, highlighting his Catalyst Metacities project that placed first and second in the first two blockchain startup competitions entered.

Chris Krimitsos

Chris Krimitsos, the founder of the Florida Bitcoin & Blockchain Summit, said he realized this new industry needed a home that would foster its growth. After a successful test run in Orlando, Krimitsos was determined to bring the event to the bay area. His colleagues at the Embarc Collective facilitated a connection with people from Amelie Arena, who welcomed the summit with open arms. With Goldstein’s sponsorship, the stage was set to launch the event.

“Now we’re building this amazing momentum, bringing this entire industry to life,” said Krimitsos. “It turns out there’s a lot of blockchain companies in Tampa that most people don’t even know exist.”

Krimitsos said the summit is the culmination of years of hard work to build an environment that would not only attract innovative companies but innovative people. He believes this event unifies that community and will cement St. Pete and Tampa as leaders within the blockchain industry.

“It really just helped solidify the entire state’s standing as probably one of the top tech incubation hubs,” said Krimitsos, “with all these amazing, innovative companies coming together.”

Cathie Wood, CEO of ARK Invest, will be the keynote speaker at the Florida Bitcoin and Blockchain Summit Nov. 4-5.

Krimitsos calls Wood relocating to the area a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Not just because she decided to make St. Pete her home but also because she brought her team with her. However, he believes the biggest impact is illustrated through the willingness of her team to relocate to the Tampa Bay area.

“What I could tell is her team is excited to live in the St. Pete and Tampa Bay area,” said Krimitsos. “It just goes to show you that our area has matured in a way that it’s not only attracting top talent – they’re happy to come here.”

As for the summit, Krimitsos believes having Wood as the keynote speaker signifies the legitimacy of the event and what it means for the region.

“It’s not just a bunch of locals trying to put something together,” he adds. “When Cathie Wood is the closing keynote, you can’t debate it.”

Krimitsos said he loves the blockchain and cryptocurrency industries because they provide financial inclusion for people that otherwise may not have a seat at the table. While he thinks it is great that people are making a lot of money in the sector, to him the driving force is democratizing technology. He said that people all over the world can do business with one another through Bitcoin, and pointed out how El Salvadorians can now use the currency to buy a burger from their local McDonald’s.

Krimitsos calls blockchain an inevitable, transformative technology that is happening right before our eyes, and said those who have been in the industry since its infancy do not care much about daily fluctuations in prices. Coincidentally, Bitcoin reached an all-time high today and is trading around $66,650 per coin at the time of writing.

“We don’t care if it goes up and down in the near term, we’re looking at it transforming everything that it touches in the long term – and that’s what keeps us coming back,” said Krimitsos. “We’re attracting the people that want to literally change the future, and change Tampa Bay for the better. That’s who we cater to.”

Krimitsos said that collectively, the blockchain companies featured at the summit are looking to hire over 100 people – if not more. He said these are high-tech and high-paying jobs that will attract top talent. He said these jobs might keep him from losing his daughters to another city due to the bright future the industry is helping to create for the region. “It makes us a beacon of light for these entrepreneurs and these innovators,” he adds.

“It’s nice to know you’re in a region that’s on the pioneering side of things,” said Krimitsos. “Rather than a region that your best days are behind you.”

For tickets to the Florida Bitcoin & Blockchain Summit or to learn more about the event, visit its website here.