Throughout 2017, we saw the prices of every cryptocurrency skyrocket. This was largely driven by the mass adoption of virtual currencies and blockchain technology. This has led to the appearance of the so-called Bitcoin millionaires. These early adopters of Bitcoin and other altcoins that managed to turn what, at first, seemed like a fad into massive wealth.
The best known case is the Winklevoss twins, who managed to make over $1 billion USD worth of BTC early in December 2017. Of course, before the current market correction started. Nevertheless, they are not alone. Other millionaires and billionaires exist around the world, but most of them keep a low profile. Their fortunes appear on a number of wealthy Bitcoin addresses.
Now, it looks like some of these “crypto tycoons” are leaving the anonymity and flocking to Puerto Rico. Their goal is clear: to create a cryptocurrency utopia in the country — Cryptopia.
DEVASTATION TURNED INTO OPPORTUNITY
In September 2017, while the cryptocurrency community was celebrating continuous price spikes across the board. However, Puerto Rico’s population was facing one of its worst periods: Hurricane Maria had devastated the country. Ricardo Rosselló, Puerto Rico put it bluntly.
Make no mistake — this is a humanitarian disaster
The entire electrical grid was destroyed, and floods devastated low-lying areas. Puerto Ricans lined up for hours for basic necessities such as gas, food, and drinking water.
CRYPTOCURRENCIES TO THE RESCUE
Though drastic, the situation created a perfect opportunity for the country to bounce back. This attracted many cryptocurrency millionaires to Puerto Rico. Furthermore, the country offers an unparalleled tax incentive: no federal personal income taxes, no capital gains, and favorable business taxes. However, there are serious caveats. This tax break only applies to capital gains earned in Puerto Rico — so you’ll have to move there before becoming a Bitcoin billionaire. You’ll also lose your right to vote in federal elections. Entrepreneurs saw in this an opportunity, while also feeling a sense of urgency.
By bringing their wealth into the territory, they want to build a “crypto utopia,” a new city where the money is virtual and the contracts are all public. They want to show the rest of the world what a future built on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology could look like. They spend their days hunting for properties and say that is even close to getting the local government to allow them to have the first cryptocurrency bank. Halsey Minor, founder of the CNET news site, told The New York Times:
“What’s happened here is a perfect storm. While it was really bad for the people of Puerto Rico, in the long term it’s a godsend if people look past that.”
OPPORTUNITY OR OPPORTUNISM?
With the cryptocurrency boom on a global scale and the group of investors that have become rich with these virtual coins, we have also seen an increased interest by governments in taxing them, as we reported happening in the US and South Korea for example.
For now, the local government seems receptive to the “cryptoutopians.” The governor will speak in March at a blockchain conference, called Puerto Crypto. Residents from San Juan are still trying to figure out what to make of the arrivals. Some are open to the infusion of investment and ideas, while others worry about the island is being used as an experiment. There’s even talk about “crypto colonialism.”
Matt Clemenson, co-founder of Lottery.com stated recently:
We’re benevolent capitalists, building a benevolent economy.
Brock Pierce, the leader of the Puertopia movement, when asked what was guiding them there, replied:
Compassion, respect, and financial transparency.
Will Puerto Rico become the next Dubai? Leave your opinion on the comments!