Article

2021 Crypto Regulations in the Caribbean

by the Crystal marketing team

October 11, 2021

 The region is moving towards large scale adoption

The Caribbean islands consist of 13 states that have been increasingly interested in cryptocurrencies in recent years. One of the main principles driving the Caribbean islands’ economy is the tide of tourism. But the tranquil Carribeans are not only offering idyllic beaches but also incredible innovations. Recently, the Caribbean has launched its own digital currency, known as DCash. However, regulations governing crypto-assets continue to be patchy. 

This blog discusses the current state of affairs in terms of crypto regulations in the Caribbean.

Brief History

In 2015, the first Caribbean bitcoin exchange was introduced to offer citizens easy access to digital goods. The primary purpose of introducing bitcoin was to provide freedom to the citizens from the service’s low fees for transactions and high cost of money transfer where traditional banking is limited. Since then, the crypto adoption rate has only increased. However, when it comes to developing clear regulations, the region has a long way to go.

In 2018, Jamaica’s central bank warned the public against the use of cryptocurrencies. Similarly, the Dominican Republic’s central bank also stated that the national currency was the only legal tender. However, Antigua & Barbuda has taken a different stance, as the country announced the Digital Asset Business Bill in 2020. This bill aims to promote the use of digital currencies in the country, opening up new avenues for payments. 

Current Status

In recent times, the governments within the region have been much more receptive to adopting digital currencies. For instance, in 2021, the Caribbean region announced the launch of DCash – a Caribbean Dollars electronic version and a blockchain technology-based currency. DCash was made available for trading goods from March 31, 2021. It is available in four island nations — Grenada, St. Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, and St. Kitts and Nevis.

It is worth noting that in the Caribbean, tourism is one of the most influential industries. Therefore, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) hopes to introduce the most cost-effective means of payment for products and services in the tourism industry. 

Cryptocurrency has emerged as a great way to process such payments and boost the Caribbean economy. To accomplish this, CTO has reached an agreement with Bitt Inc., a Barbados-based blockchain company. Such agreements indicate the increased adoption of crypto in the region.

Future Outlook

Clear regulations about cryptocurrencies may come up in more Caribbean nations in the near future. Such developments will only aid the growth of digital assets in this region. In fact, the Caribbean is also looking to develop its own versions of digital currencies. For example, in 2022, Jamaica is planning to launch CBDC — a central bank digital currency. It will be interesting to see whether this region realizes its true crypto potential.

Growing incongruently but quickly 

The Caribbean is quickly growing to become one of the hotbeds of cryptocurrency innovation globally. However, the regulations of cryptocurrency differ depending on the Caribbean island nations. The Bahamas and Antigua & Barbuda governments have already recognized the vital means of cryptocurrency to boost their country’s economy, while the legal regulations in other countries are still in process. 

For more info about cryptocurrencies and their regulations per region, please visit our blog.

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