Can Cryptocurrency Rescue Puerto Rico?

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Former child actor, entrepreneur, investor, and lover of wide-brimmed hats, Brock Pierce, has plans for the small island of Puerto Rico. He wants to turn it into a blockchain paradise and he, along with a gaggle of other crypto investors, have moved on to the island to begin laying the foundation for their vision.

Pierce best known in acting for the "Mighty Ducks" retired as a teenager and began to pursue financial ventures. A series of investments sprinkled with a bit of scandal, and years later Pierce found ultimate success in cryptocurrencies. He turned his earnings into more investments and helped to found Block. One the company behind EOS (EOS), the would-be Ethereum (ETH) killer that just can't seem to get off the ground. Now Pierce has turned his eyes on transforming Puerto Rico.

Rescuing Puerto Rico with Crypto

Puerto Rico has been essentially left bankrupt partially from the devastation wrought by hurricane Maria and the lack of aid to the U.S. territory and in part by decades of corrupted politics and excessive borrowing. Earlier this year the U.S. placed Puerto Rico under an austerity program taking measures forcing the territory to pay $97 billion in debts. Needless to say, this is putting severe pressure on an already tense economic situation. The people there are suffering, forced to deal with the crippling debt, and in some areas, the most basic necessities such as clean water, or power, are scarce or entirely absent.

For businesses, this has become a boon, and companies that move to Puerto Rico get a huge tax break, paying only 4% of corporate tax and nothing on passive income. Naturally, cryptocurrency startups were drawn to this and have started to move on to the island. Manuel Laboy, Puerto Rico's economic spokesman notes, "an unbelievable trend in a positive way for Puerto Rico because we are receiving a lot of individuals and companies looking for this special treatment." Essentially Puerto Rico has become a tax haven.

Brock Pierce intends to turn the island into a crypto flavored silicon valley and is using the advantages provided to foster that situation along with his fellow entrepreneurs. Cryptocurrency could possibly allow the citizens to regain their financial independence and the blockchain could be used to revolutionize infrastructure and businesses. The locals of the island, however, aren't so sure of Pierce's intentions and believe he has ulterior motives and less than pure intentions. The suspicion is more than understandable from people who have been living under other nation's colonization for 500 years, things never really in their control.

One thing is certain, the island's newly found safe haven status and the Puerto Rican government's embrace of the crypto millionaires and billionaires coming to the island will draw more and more traffic. I do like Pierce's ideas, they have the potential to launch Puerto Rico into a new age, but only time will tell if it will be a benefit to the citizens or solely to the island's new crypto investor class.


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