Dominica Will Be First Nation with Universal Bitcoin Possession

By: Belén Marty - @belenmarty - Aug 28, 2014, 1:14 pm
Bit Drop Stadium in Dominica.
Bit Drop Stadium in Dominica. (@TheBitDrop)

EspañolFor the first time in history, an entire national population will have the cryptocurrency bitcoin in their hands for use: the people of Dominica, an island republic in the middle of the Caribbean. An event to mark the occasion will be held in March 2015, thanks to the goodwill of local authorities and a collaborative initiative from Coinapult, Aspen Assurance, Bitcoin Beauties, and the College Cryptocurrency Network (CCN).

The initiative, known as “Let the Bit Drop,” will send a small of amount of bitcoin to every island resident via text message. This effort will turn Dominica, and its more than 70,000 residents, into the most densely concentrated bitcoin community in the world.

“The objective is simply to increase bitcoin adoption. We are going to create tens of thousands of new bitcoin users overnight. Of course, we hope that these people enjoy and continue to use bitcoin, and that the project provides proof of concept to similar communities all around the world. We want a thousand Bit Drops,” said Ira Miller, CEO of Coinapult, in an exclusive interview with the PanAm Post.

Enigmatic Release Date a Tribute to Mathematics

The launch date chosen by organizers, March 14, 2015, at 9:26 a.m., coincides with Pi Day, a global celebration of the mathematical constant.

“Pi is an objective, mathematical truth, not a human creation. Everyone can understand, use, and be empowered by Pi. Bitcoin applies the same objectivity and openness to financial transactions,” says Miller, referring to the underlying mathematical principles of bitcoin that he believes allows the currency to provide security and transparency.

“Also, Pi Day is conveniently right after Carnival, one of the most glorious of all imperfect, human creations,” he added.

The day of the “Bit Drop,” organizers will celebrate the currency launch with a nationwide party with various musicians and celebrities in attendance. They plan to hold raffles and host informational booths with introductory and educational material related to the cryptocurrency.

Another project partner, the Cryptocurrency College Network (CCN) of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), will be in charge of distributing educational material throughout the island and explaining bitcoin’s various uses and advantages. They will also work to educate local Dominican retailers on the benefits of accepting bitcoin as payment.

Coinapult CEO, Ira Miller, and Kenneth Darroux, Dominican Minister of Environment and Planning.
Coinapult CEO, Ira Miller, and Kenneth Darroux, Dominican Minister of Environment and Planning. (Coinapult)

Funding for the purchase of bitcoins that will be distributed for free to the general public will come from donations and sponsors wishing to participate in the project.

As for the connection between organizational partners and the authorities of the island, Miller says his relationship with local officials is primarily for educational purposes.

According to the CEO of Coinapult, the officials he has spoken with are open to the initiative because they believe in the economic potential that bitcoin can offer the Caribbean island.

Those interested in donating to help the project see a successful launch can visit Sarah Blincoe, the leader of the project, told the PanAm Post that those who donate 0.1 bitcoins or more will be entered into a drawing to win an all-inclusive trip to join the celebration.

Dominica’s Bitcoin Opportunity

Geographically, Dominica is located in the Caribbean, north of Venezuela and southeast of the Dominican Republic. Dominica is a republic that forms part of the British Commonwealth, with an unemployment rate of 23 percent and a low annual rate of inflation of 2.1 percent.

According to data from the Heritage Foundation, Dominica is above the world average in terms of its economic liberalization, but has high levels of internal corruption.

In 2008, Dominica joined ALBA, the regional commercial alliance led by Hugo Chávez, which maintains a socialist economic view.

Translated by Alex Clark-Youngblood.

Editor’s note: the date has been updated, to bring it into line with the original Spanish version of the article. The initial version of this article also asserted that the currency would have official status. This was based on a misunderstanding, and has necessitated both an updated headline and lead paragraph. We apologize for the mistake.

Belén Marty Belén Marty

Belén Marty is the Libertarian Latina, a journalist based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She has lived in Guatemala, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States and is a former candidate for local office with Argentina's Libertarian Party. Follow @BelenMarty.

Argentina Wants Jail Time for US Printing Company Executives

By: Belén Marty - @belenmarty - Aug 28, 2014, 12:05 pm

EspañolArgentina's Federal Tax Authority (AFIP) has called for the arrest and imprisonment of the directors of the Argentinean branch of the multinational printing company RR Donnelley. The tax agency has accused the company of fraud, following a bankruptcy proceeding filed on August 9. On August 14, President of Argentina Cristina Kirchner announced on national television that US shareholders of the printing company have ties to "vulture funds," as holdouts who did not accept restructured debt bonds in 2005 and 2010. Kirchner said Donnelley's bankruptcy is a maneuver to put the country "on its knees." Ricardo Echegaray, head of the AFIP, said at a press conference on Monday that the bankruptcy proceeding was "fraudulent" since there is "no economical or financial reason" behind it. Echegaray said Argentina's tax authority responded by filing a complaint in commercial court on August 14. On August 11, Donnelley closed its doors, and the company's building has been occupied by 400 former employees ever since. "We have requested the federal courts detain the company's directors for fraud," the Argentinean official said, adding he did not know the whereabouts of Donnelley's management. According to AFIP, Donnelley's bankruptcy is fraudulent and shareholders are members of vulture funds. AFIP backs the complaints with documents that assert the company was not bankrupt, given its net assets of AR$183.8 million (US$14 million) and debts amounting to AR$145.2 million (US$11 million). According to Echegaray, another $AR20 million (US$1.53 million) was reserved for dividend payments and their solvency indexes were positive. Echegaray added that Argentina's Federal Tax Authority is even paying them US$1.1 million in pending refunds. The head of the tax authority is confident that a judicial decision will revoke the company's bankruptcy, and a trustee assigned by the judge can put the company back in business. Echegaray called the speed with which Judge Gerardo Santicchia declared the bankruptcy suspicious. "He declared the bankruptcy on the same day [it was filed]. We analyzed cases from 2014, and of the 1,189 bankruptcies filed not even one was declared the same day." With regard to the alleged links between Donnelley's hedge fund shareholders (BlackRock, Capital World Investors, and The Vanguard Group) and the so-called vulture funds, Echegaray made no comment on the theory that the bankruptcy was an effort to harm the country. "Those funds are there. I can't say anything else. This will all be figured out later," he said. The CNV will present evidence of Donnelley's fraudulent bankruptcy. Nevertheless, Echegaray confirmed there are no plans to nationalize the printing facilities because it is not an essential supplier of the state. "The idea that the state will take over the company or turn it into a recovered factory has been ruled out," he assured. Echegaray said he has sent all documents related to the case to Argentina's National Securities Commission (CNV). This commission will send a report to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, where the printing company is based, hoping they impose "a maximum penalty." Employees Struggle Employees of the company supported the AFIP's request to arrest the company's management. "The bankruptcy is fraudulent, as the state points out. We demand the dismissal of the request, and the payment of our wages," the group stated in a press release. The plant has been closed since August 12, yet employees have not halted production. "We are more than 400 families, which the company wanted to evict. But the workers reignited production and started to manage on our own. There is no way that we can allow these US vultures to leave us unemployed," said Rene Córdoba, member of the union commission, to Télam news agency. A Costly Move Argentinean lawyer, Ezequiel Caffarini, explained to PanAm Post that there are two ways in which a company can opt out and close its doors in Argentina. "In order to close a company, one should file a bankruptcy proceeding, or fire all the employees, compensate them, and then request the dissolution of the company at the General Inspection of Justice. The problem with the latter is that it is very expensive." He added that in some cases, medium-sized companies in this country decide to drain a company's assets in preparation for closure. In other words, they sell them to friends and family. The problem with bankruptcy, he concluded, is that it takes five or six years for the bankrupt company to divide the balance among all creditors. In Argentina, fraudulent bankruptcy is punishable by up to six years in prison, according to Article 176 of the Criminal Code. Translated by Adam Dubove.

Weekly E-Newsletter

Get the latest from PanAm Post direct to your inbox!

We will never share your email with anyone.