The more than 5,000 inhabitants of an island that is part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines can use crypto as a means of payment.
According to a report from Euronews, both residents and visitors to Bequia Island can use Bitcoin (BTC) to pay for goods and services, ranging from real estate to food at one of the local eateries. The One Bequia project, supported by entrepreneur Storm Gonsalves, is building luxury island villas for sale in BTC. Gonsalves said the move to accept crypto aimed to solve the problem of traditional financial systems leaving Caribbean islands.
“The adoption of cryptocurrencies is anything but a gimmick,” said Gonsalves. “It responds to the very real challenges facing island communities that are increasingly cut off from mainstream banking facilities.”
Residents of small island states find it increasingly difficult to send and receive money internationally due to ‘derisking’ by large international banks. Derisking is when these large institutions remove their intermediary banking services from smaller island-based community banks to conduct transactions internationally. ”
The island is currently home to a branch of the Bank of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and also accepts the East Caribbean dollar for fiat transactions. Gonsalves cited Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Lucia, which recently adopted DCash as examples of island states in the Caribbean that are pushing back from seemingly slowly cutting off international trade. The Bahamas has also issued their own central bank digital currency, the Sand Dollar.
While the entrepreneur claims many people are “still skeptical” about crypto, the technology could be an attractive investment for islanders. Some are already calling Bequia “Bitcoin Island”, as residents are given the opportunity to use the cryptocurrency as a medium of exchange.
“The Caribbean is known for its laid-back island atmosphere,” said Gonsalves. “It is not exactly where you would expect world-class groundbreaking real estate development to take place. I wanted to break out of this mold and surprise the world by pioneering a new way of project financing, such as using alternative payment methods such as Bitcoin. ”