WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Carribean island Bequia is about to become the world’s first bitcoin community.
- The project, led by Storm Gonsalves, will be built by his real estate company One Bequia.
- Cryptocurrency can become the Carribean islands’ solution to financial mishaps with mainstream banking services.
In the island of Bequia, a Carribean housing developer is building a society where every saleable item like property, goods and services can be availed using bitcoin, making it the world’s first cryptocurrency-based community.
The 18 sq km Carribean island ━ an idea spearheaded by One Bequia company owner Storm Gonsalves ━ will be transformed into a community with over 39 luxury villas, shops, a clubhouse and buildings.
Through cryptocurrency, residents can pay for daily needs such as food, groceries and entertainment in bitcoin, as well as buying properties within the area.
With a price range of £670,000 up to £1.6m, the properties can be bought through cryptocurrency equivalents in locked-in price values to prevent price fluctuations during actual transactions.
In his interview with the Express, Gonsalves said that purchasing property using cryptocurrencies “will become a very normal thing in years to come.”
“Right now we’re pioneering an alternative form of financing. We’re also pioneering a new way of marketing,” he said. “There are over $1 trillion in the market cap of bitcoin alone, and many of these purchasers first bought it when bitcoin was only $1,000.
“So there is a lot of wealth in the cryptomarket that cannot be ignored any more – it’s just too large,” Gonsalves continued. “It has really hit the mainstream so I think what we’re doing is going to become run of the mill in a few years from now.”
Gonsalves told Euronews: “Residents of small island nations are finding it increasingly difficult to send and receive money internationally because of ‘derisking’ by large international banks.”
“This prevents the island-based banks from transacting internationally. If this trend continues it means small island nations will be essentially cut off from international trade and commerce. For tourism-based economies, this will be devastating,” he argued.
In this regard, countries across the Carribean have tapped blockchain and cryptocurrencies faster than anywhere else globally. Supported by a central bank, Carribean nations like St Lucia, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, and St Kitts and Nevis have introduced DCash, the world’s first digital currency union.
Per Gonsalves, his company would entice people who already entered the crypto industry.
“Not everyone understands the advantage of cryptocurrencies. People are still skeptical,” he said. “Early crypto investors are not your typical speculators and they believe strongly in the philosophy of decentralisation behind bitcoin/blockchain. They are not your typical speculator.”
In a way, cryptocurrencies can also serve as a long-term solution to the Carribean’s financial struggles. Since the community is an island, there could be tendencies that traditional banking facilities would be interrupted.