Where To Live - 2024 Edition

Cities, their Network Effects, Taxes & Other Factors That Smart Highly Mobile People Should Consider

David A. Johnston
4 min readApr 19, 2024
Image made with Stable Diffusion / Article Written with Nous Hermes LLM


I’ve written a lot about the best cities to live in from Austin, to Puerto Rico to Zurich. For Crypto natives this is a really important choice that has a huge effect on your career outcomes. This 2024 edition takes into account all the latest data and maps out the best cities and their strengths.

Choosing where to live is a decision that often accompanies significant life changes such as career progression, marriage, or retirement. Factors to consider when deciding on a location include tax rates, network effects, and overall quality of life. This article aims to provide insights into the most suitable cities for various stages of life and personal preferences.

Small Islands & Zero Tax Freedom

Cities with populations below one million, such as St. Kitts, Barbados, Caymans, and Malta, are ideal for those who seek a relaxed, slower-paced lifestyle. However, they may not be the best fit for young professionals or those who enjoy a bustling urban environment. These smaller cities are typically better suited for retirees or individuals who prioritize tranquility over networking opportunities.

Mid Size Up & Coming Cities

Puerto Rico, Austin, and Miami fall within the 3 to 6 million population range and offer a more dynamic lifestyle. These cities provide a balance between the amenities of a larger city without the overwhelming crowds of metropolises like New York City, San Francisco, or Los Angeles. They are particularly attractive for those who are already married or seeking to raise a family.

Larger Metro Hubs

Cities with populations ranging from 7 to 14 million, such as New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Dallas, are renowned for their networking opportunities, particularly for young professionals in the dating scene. These cities are ideal for those seeking to build connections and advance their careers. However, the cost of living and higher tax rates may be a trade-off for these networking benefits.

Tax Strategies and Network Effects

Puerto Rico presents an interesting exception with its 0% capital gains tax rate for U.S. citizens. However, it may not be the best fit for everyone, as it lacks a strong network effect for engineers. On the other hand, Austin and Miami provide a high quality of life, strong network effects (Austin for tech, Miami for finance), and lower tax rates, making them attractive for families and individuals seeking a balance between work and personal life.

Other Considerations

Airport connectivity is essential when selecting a city to live in. Miami and Dallas are major hubs, while Austin is expanding its airport to cater to growing domestic and international demand.

City-specific industries and barriers to entry should also be considered. For instance, San Francisco is a hub for tech VCs, while New York City is known for institutional finance. Austin is well-known for its Web3 protocol tech, hardware tech, and community-driven ecosystems. However, the cost of relocating to Puerto Rico or some of these other cities can be a barrier for those with lower net worth, as the expenses associated with moving may outweigh the potential tax benefits.

Giga Brain Solution

Tax strategies such as borrowing against assets via non-recourse loans can help individuals minimize their tax burden, regardless of their chosen city of residence.

Projects like Thorchain with their lending / borrowing products are opening up these options to crypto holders and lowering the barrier to entry for the first time to almost anyone.

With these tools the choice of city shift much more to culture, weather, life style fit then it does tax considerations.

Legal Edge Cases

Those of us in the Crypto industry have not seen much friendly policy from the US (thanks to the SEC) from 2014 to 2024. As a result a lot of people moved internationally (primarily to Europe and Asia). This sort of opens up a much broader set of city options if you are serious about building you career.

In this case, I’d rank Zurich, London, Singapore, Berlin & then Dubai as being the best 5 options depending on your language skills. Though all of these cities work for English speakers. The challenge here is developing a new friend group from scratch and figuring out how to exit your old citizenship.

Though there are a growing number of crypto OGs deciding to stay in the US and fight for their rights in court a strategy that is time and money consuming, but seems to be bearing fruit as the SEC has lot most of its cases to crypto projects.


In summary, the decision of where to live should be guided by personal preferences, career goals, and lifestyle factors. Smaller island cities offer tranquility, while medium-sized and larger cities provide diverse networking opportunities and more vibrant urban environments. Tax strategies and the presence of specific industries should also be taken into account when making this important life decision. Ultimately, the choice of where to live should be based on a careful assessment of one’s unique needs and aspirations.



David A. Johnston

Technologist, Voluntarist, Future Martian Settler, & Evangelist for Decentralization.