According to a report published in the New York Times, Puerto Rico is the next “happening” place for cryptocurrencies, or that is what a few enthusiasts think at the very least, since a number of cryptocurrency investors and business owners have been making the rounds to see if Puerto Rico has the potential to be the new safe haven for the industry.
After being stricken by Hurricane Maria, which toppled Puerto Rico in September 2017, the local community has been employing all the efforts that it could to keep afloat and to rebuild the place they call home, including the businesses that had been destroyed and the dreams that came with them.
While the rebuilding has not been easy, the community has been persistent to move on to a better future from what Hurricane Maria left them with. External help has been scarce and mostly comes from private sources, but it has been helping the Puerto Rican community one day at a time.
In the midst of all this, these aforementioned cryptocurrency based entities are also looking into Puerto Rico, not just to rebuild upon the skeleton of the once-existing infrastructure, but to create a new colony of their own where currency is digital and contracts are “smart”, where cryptocurrency is the focus and its businesses can flourish amidst new and government level infrastructure, including but not limited to private airports.
Together, they have dubbed it as “Puertopia,” a place which could serve as cryptocurrency heaven.
What is the movement looking for?
The so-called movement comprises of notable technological figures such as Brock Pierce, co-founder of the company that launched EOS; Halsey Minor, founder of CNET, and Matt Clemenson, co-founder of Lottery.com. Other members of the movement either belong to the cryptocurrency industry or have a vested interest in it.
It was described by these investors that they are looking for an area that could serve as a hub for cryptocurrency operations since it is difficult to operate such business from central U.S. states. They term the movement’s focus as creating a safe territory for the cryptocurrency industry, which could provide a place where people are “free to invent.”
For this purpose, they are looking at properties that range over 250,000 acres in area, aiming to build a city within Puerto Rico. However, these plans are not finalized as of yet, as they might just end up building a base in Old San Juan.
For now, the movement has set up base in the Monastery, a famous hotel in San Juan from where the members are hunting for properties and looking at the options to determine where they could start their operations from, as they want to put the wheels in motion as soon as possible.
And it seems that the local authorities are responding to their efforts to the point where the governor is scheduled to be a speaker at their blockchain summit next month, dubbed as Puerto Crypto.
How is the move being taken by the cryptocurrency community?
Puerto Rico has not been an unexplored territory in the past for people holding high capital. However, it has always been to gain advantage from tax breaks.
The territory has no federal personal income tax, capital gains tax, and favorable business tax.
Previous generations of conventional investors – such as those for hedge funds or pooled investments – have since long moved to Puerto Rico to benefit from said tax breaks, all without having to give up their status as a U.S. citizen.
Due to this reason, most critics of the movement think that this just a part of a plan for the investors to become “tax expatriates” without having any intention to give back to the Puerto Rican community.
Members of the movement are aware of this, and while not all members of the movement have collectively announced an initiative to launching rehabilitation and charitable procedures, Pierce did mention that he was planning on creating a charitable token with $1 billion of his own money.
However, that personal announcement with no tangible plans falls flat in the midst of the movement’s plans of creating a whole new city while the existing infrastructure still needs all the help that it could get.
It remains to be seen if the government’s stance changes on this in the future or if the Puertopians can find a suitable place for themselves. All in all, it seems like a big move for the cryptocurrency community.
It may prove to be beneficial for the local Puerto Rican community as well.