EspañolOrganizers confirmed on Wednesday, February 11, that the March 14 “Let the Bit Drop” bitcoin festival, scheduled to be held on the island of Dominica, will be cancelled due to a lack of “logistical support” from the small Caribbean nation.
The suspension of the festival came with “deep regret” from organizers, who aimed to deliver small quantities of bitcoin to some 70,000 island residents. The proposed event was due to be a national holiday, complete with musicians, celebrities, sponsors, and educational material on the virtual currency.
“The event was designed to demonstrate the ability of bitcoin to bring financial tools and services to the under-banked, as well as provide an economic boost to a single country,” stated organizers.
Although the March 14 event was canceled, the promoters of the festival still hope to revive it on another date and location.
“We are still passionate about bringing ‘Let the Bit Drop’ to fruition and hope that we will be able to reinstate this pioneering project in the future,” they added.
A statement issued by the organizers reported that participating companies and organizations had been notified of the decision and will receive a refund.
The festival was jointly organized by bitcoin service companies Coinapult, Aspen Assurance, Bitcoin Beauties and College Cryptocurrency Network (CCN).
Justin Blincoe, Coinapult’s Chief Operating Officer, told the PanAm Post that the project was based on informal discussions and that there was never any signed contract.
“It was an ambitious project, our national partners led us to believe they would help with the project, but then they didn’t,” said Blincoe. He added: “They just weren’t able to support the project like we thought.”
For Blincoe, the plan to give the population a small amount of bitcoins and letting them choose freely what to spend them on was “spectacular.”
The Organization Council of the event “is considering another way to accomplish” a similar bitcoin giveaway, although it is unlikely they will be able to organize another event by March 14.
A number of Coinapult members expressed their disappointment at the cancellation of the event, which had been organized for a year and a half, to Coindesk.
“This is particularly sad, as a number of alternative Caribbean venues were available, had we known Dominica would not follow through,” said Ira Miller, CEO of Coinapult.
During the presentation of the project in 2014, Miller told PanAm Post that the goal of this project was simply to increase bitcoin use around the world.
“We will create tens of thousands of new bitcoin users overnight. Of course we expect people will enjoy and continue using bitcoins, and the project will work as a proof of concept in similar communities around the world. We want thousands of projects like this,” Miller stated.
Coinapult project director, Sarah Blincoe, wrote to Coindesk of the difficulty of scheduling the event during a US election year. Blincoe also indicated that Dominica’s government failed to meet its end of the bargain when it chose not to release a statement to the press about the festival.
The English-speaking island of Dominica is part of the British Commonwealth, and was rated by the Heritage Foundation as 61st of 178 countries measured for their levels of economic freedom in 2014. Since 2008, Dominica has been part of the ALBA trade group, founded by former Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.
Translated by Michael Pelzer. Edited by Laurie Blair.