The South American region is once again making its presence known. This time with the help of a small island called Bequia, which has the potential to become a Bitcoin community. Interestingly, the originator indicates that this is a result of necessity and not just a rebellion against traditional currencies.
Bequia and its characteristics
Bequia is a small island belonging to the archipelago of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, in the Caribbean islands region. It has an area of 18 square kilometers and is inhabited by about 100,000 people. It is a dependent territory of the British Isles and is governed by a governor on behalf of the Queen. The currency used in this region of the world is the Eastern Caribbean dollar.
The originator of Bequia as a Bitcoin island is the head of the One Bequita project, Storm Gonsalves. As he points out in his statements, the adoption of Bitcoin as a payment method is far from any kind of marketing gimmick. According to him, it is a response to the problems of island communities that are effectively cut off from mainstream traditional banking. This is to be the result of what is known as “derisking”. It involves larger banks depriving the smaller ones of their complicity in setting up international payment networks. The result is that people in the Caribbean are having increasing difficulty making cross-border transfers.
Bitcoin as a way to solve the problem
The answer to this situation is the idea of creating a community independent of the traditional financial system. The developers of One Bequita are working on an ecosystem where everything from groceries, to the simplest services, to villas can be paid for using the leading cryptocurrency. This absolutely does not exclude the local, Eastern Caribbean dollar from circulation. Instead, it allows for an easier way for the community to function both on and off the island. The idea is aptly summed up by Storm Gonsalves saying:
“Cryptocurrencies don’t need any additional financial institutions, and the only basis for their operation is an internet connection. This has pushed many Caribbean island nations to adopt blockchain technology and other cryptocurrencies much faster than other more developed countries. Bermuda, the Bahamas, Barbados and now St. Vincent are leading the way.”
Gonsalves also notes that many people don’t believe or even trust cryptocurrencies. The preconceived skepticism of many global communities makes it difficult to understand their benefits. The situation is different on Caribbean islands, however. For residents of the archipelago of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, for example, Bitcoin is not only a financial instrument but also a philosophy of decentralization and an opportunity not to be left behind.