Category Archives: Caribbean

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Catalonia Independence-Fund Donations Now Exceed 80,000 Bitcoin

The support fund started after exiled Catalonia leader Carles Puigdemnot’s plea for financial support this year is reportedly gaining some ground.

According to Spanish news outlet El Confidencial, officials have now reportedly collected 80,000 BTC in support of exiled politicians. Current claims suggest donations of 81,000 BTC, although the exact number is difficult to confirm.

Catalan politicians who incited a break away from Spain last year and used public funds to organize an independence referendum which the Spanish courts had declared unconstitutional are either now in exile or in prison. The fund was organized by Carles Puigdemont who is currently living in exile in Belgium. Once the former Mayor of Girona, Puigdemont served as the President of the Government of Catalonia from January 2016 to October 2017.

The donated funds are to go towards legal support for those politicians who fled after the Spanish government decided to act against the renegade Catalonians last October.  Funds will also be used towards the security of some of the exiled politicians and activists involved in last year’s push for Catalonian independence.

The fundraising website was registered in the Caribbean state of Saint Kitts and Nevis by the co-founder of torrent tracker Piratebay, Peter Sunde. The Bitcoin wallet address for fund donations, posted on Reddit, shows transfers of more than 81,300 BTC, but as of October 19, the balance was 51.176 BTC. However, El Confidencial noted how “no report on the management of the funds has been presented” in over six months. It also said there has been no word about who is on the independent council.

Meanwhile, Spain has hit a wall in terms of its own crypto/blockchain aspirations following the ousting of Prime Minister Rajoy back in June and replacement by Socialist chief Pedro Sanchez as a result of a no-confidence vote following corruption charges aimed at the ex PM’s center-right People’s Party.

The Sanchez-led no-confidence vote may delay the current pro-crypto legislation, which had been scheduled to go to a vote by 7 July after public consultation on 7 June. New elections could delay legislation for more than six months.

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Bermuda Launches First ICO as Premier Leads From the Front

Bermuda is increasing its cryptocurrency profile, having approved certification for the island’s first Initial Coin Offering (ICO).

Minister of National Security Wayne Gaines announced that fintech company Uulala was to be the island’s first, under the government’s new legislation designed to regulate cryptocurrency and blockchain ventures.

The new legislation put into effect by the Premier and Minister of Finance of Bermuda David Burt now requires companies issuing ICOs to register details regarding all participants, the project itself, target audience and proposed funds targeted for ensuring its success, along with further technical details.

Also, recent changes to the Banking Act will create a new class of banks that will work specifically to cater to blockchain and fintech companies, combating the current dismissive nature of the banks. The traditional financial sector in Bermuda has been unwilling to provide blockchain startups with banking services, referring to legal and regulatory barriers as justification for this, prompting Premier Burt to introduce these changes in support of economic growth.

Bermuda’s Minister of National Security, Wayne Caines believes that the industry needed well-rounded regulation before it could flourish. He maintained that the BMA had 20 companies in London waiting to do business, commenting that “it’s actually phenomenal”.

Caribbean governments and businesses are showing increasing interest in currencies like Bitcoin. In recent years, due to slow growth and high debt rates, major US banks have become more reticent about doing business in the region, frequently withdrawing capital from Caribbean markets. This has created a deficit of banking services inciting local banks to engage in illegal activities such as facilitating money laundering.

The sluggish economy and the tourist industry on which it mostly survives needs a boost, and Bitcoin is proposed by some as a way of energizing it. The Caribbean Tourism Organization plans to introduce cryptocurrency payments for tourist services and integrate Caribbean economies in the region through the use of virtual currencies.

“Tourism is the largest single contributor to the Caribbean economy. It is absolutely critical to every single Caribbean nation’s well-being and development. We see this as a very natural and necessary association,” said Rawdon Adams, CEO of blockchain payment startup Bitt.

The Bermuda Royal Gazette suggests that Uulala is targeting unbanked and underbanked Bermudans, and in doing so aims to provide far more financial inclusion in the banking sector. CEO Oscar Garcia has a $50 million target for its ICO, with $10 million already raised privately, although the firm had to wait four months for its operating licence. He commented:

“Bermuda is known as a financial hub and it is very forward thinking on blockchain and fintech… They have a reputation of being excellent regulatory stewards and we thought that would be a better fit for us than a jurisdiction where we could say we’re good, they’d believe us and give us approval in three weeks.”

In order to promote a blockchain friendly environment, the premier has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoUs) with blockchain and industry players on the island in a push for creating related employment.

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Bittrex, Cryptofacil to Launch Crypto Exchange in the Caribbean and Latin America

Bittrex has partnered with Cryptofacil, a new crypto exchange headquartered in the South American nation of Uruguay, to launch a crypto exchange across the Caribbean and Latin America. This is a major milestone since this region has lacked a major crypto exchange up until now. This new exchange will have over 200 cryptocurrencies and 270 token pairings.

Crypto exchanges are one of the most critical pieces of infrastructure for the adoption of crypto. Exchanges, like the one Cryptofacil is launching, provide a conduit for fiat currency to flow into and out of the crypto markets. Latin America and the Caribbean have numerous different fiat currencies, and major offshore crypto exchanges that usually only deal with USD, EUR, and JPY are simply inadequate. This launch is implicitly saying they will be making connections with banks in each nation in the region, to provide crypto trading for each type of fiat in the region.

Once Cryptofacil is fully launched, citizens of Latin America and the Caribbean will be able to buy and sell crypto with their native fiat currencies, massively accelerating crypto adoption and the usefulness of crypto in the region. There are hundreds of millions of people living in this region, so this is a major development.

Bittrex will provide essential infrastructure and liquidity for Cryptofacil. Bittrex has tens of millions of dollars in trading volume per day; Cryptofacil can connect with this trading liquidity, which will give its customers optimal trades even when this new exchange is just starting. Additionally, Bittrex is one of the biggest exchanges in the United States, and its experience will help guide Cryptofacil through complex international regulations.

Bittrex CEO, Bill Shihara, says, “Bittrex works every day to advance blockchain technology and this partnership with Cryptofacil will further drive its worldwide adoption. Cryptofacil and Bittrex will provide Latin American and Caribbean customers a reliable, fast and secure trading platform that also offers access to some of the world’s most innovative blockchain projects. As we continue expanding our global footprint, it is partnerships like this one that will serve to not only support the blockchain industry, but also to incubate innovative projects using this revolutionary technology.”

 

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Bermuda Pushes Ahead to Promote Cryptocurrency Growth

The Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA) claims that it is seeking to develop a comprehensive framework that would offer cryptocurrency businesses a safer and more stable environment through new proposed legislation.

The authority claims that by seeking public feedback on proposed anti-money laundering laws designed to regulate domestic cryptocurrency activity, it will better be able to develop this framework and environment.

According to a report by the Royal Gazette on Thursday, Bermuda’s minister of national security Wayne Caines believed the industry needed well-rounded regulation before it could flourish. He maintained that the BMA had 20 companies in London waiting to do business, commenting that “it’s actually phenomenal”.

In a paper released on Thursday, Bermuda’s financial regulator said the proposed legislation – the Virtual Currency Act – would call for cryptocurrency exchanges, wallet services and new coin offerings to collect and keep records of their customers. Regulation of ICO organizers would not be part of the act as the aim is not prohibition, but development, said legislators. ICOs would fall under separate legislation.

The Caribbean and Bitcoin

Caribbean governments and businesses are showing increasing interest in currencies like Bitcoin. In recent years, due to slow growth and high debt rates, major US banks have become more reticent about doing business in the region, frequently withdrawing capital from Caribbean markets. This has created a deficit of banking services inciting local banks to engage in illegal activities such as facilitating money laundering.

The sluggish economy and the tourist industry on which it mostly survives need a boost, and Bitcoin is proposed by some as a way of energizing it. The Caribbean Tourism Organization plans to introduce cryptocurrency payments for tourist services and integrate Caribbean economies in the region through the use of virtual currencies.

“Tourism is the largest single contributor to the Caribbean economy. It is absolutely critical to every single Caribbean nation’s well-being and development. We see this as a very natural and necessary association,” said Rawdon Adams, CEO of blockchain payment startup Bitt.

There is enthusiasm for new technology among several Caribbean economies through the adoption of cryptocurrencies as the Eastern Caribbean bank considers its own currency, the Digital Eastern Caribbean Dollar (DXCD), with eight governments and economies behind the project.

It is unclear if Bermuda would be able to sign up for the region’s digital currency as it is not officially listed as a Caribbean island due to its location in the Sargasso Sea.

 

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