Bequia, an island located in the Caribbean archipelago of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, has decided to advance the acceptance of bitcoin in bars, restaurants and even for the purchase of real estate, in order to solve the difficulties to operate through transfers banking. In this way, it would become the first destination in the world with total adherence to the use of cryptocurrency.
The main reason is the rating that many international banks give to the island, considered a tax haven and with very lax tax regulation. In this way, due to the practice known as derisking (“risk reduction” in Spanish), fund transfers become very difficult to carry out, which hinders trade and economic activities in general for its inhabitants.
At the moment, the government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has not issued any statement in this regard, so it is a private initiative. One of the main projects that found an alternative in bitcoin was One Bequia, a very exclusive urban hotel that allows the purchase of real estate through cryptocurrencies, in addition to the payment of other products and services.
Storm Gonsalves, owner of One Bequia, explained that this banking practice “leaves small island nations out of international trade, and this is devastating for tourism-based economies.” For that reason, Caribbean nations such as Bermuda, Bahamas, Barbados and Saint Vincent “have adopted blockchain technology and other cryptocurrencies much faster than other developed countries, according to Tech Round.
With just over 18 square kilometers in area, Bequia is an island characterized by receiving tourists of vast fortunes, celebrities and even members of the British royal family. To meet the demands of the tourist target of the place, the One Bequia project includes the construction of 39 high-tech villas. Given the difficulty of these visitors to manage their money with bank transfers, bitcoin emerges as an alternative that from the island itself they seek to encourage.
Bitcoin, a solution for the tourism sector
Apart from Bequia, there are also other tourist sites and service provider companies in this area that have chosen to accept payments in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. An example of this is the Booking.com platform, which at the beginning of 2021 reported that it will accept cryptocurrencies to pay for accommodation, travel and other services during the year, as reported by CriptoNoticias.
Finally, in El Salvador the Bitcoin Beach Festival was held at the end of 2020, a sports and gastronomic show in which all payments were made through the Lightning Network. El Zonte beach, where the event was held, also accepts the use of cryptocurrencies, so the economy of the place is widely bitcoinized.