Continuing to live up to its title as ‘the Caribbean’s economic powerhouse’ and honing in on its status as a fintech leader, Antigua and Barbuda has taken centre stage in the global digital assets scene. Since enacting its Digital Assets Bill in June 2020, the island has witnessed meaningful interest from investors seeking to hop aboard the Blockchain and cryptocurrency exchange train.
But what makes Antigua’s new Digital Assets Bill so attractive? How can the Blockchain, Bitcoin, and iGaming sectors be harnessed to catapult the island to greatness? And what does being cryptocurrency-friendly specifically mean for this compact Caribbean paradise?
In this article, we’ll talk you through the fundamentals, breaking them down and giving you a complete oversight into the fascinating world of digital assets.
First off, what are digital assets?
Digital assets refers to anything that exists in binary format and which can be used as a means of value. These assets are stored either in computer files or are cloud-based. But how did digital assets become so valuable that they are now considered currency? That’s where Blockchain comes in.
You often hear the words Blockchain and Bitcoin in the same breath. That’s because a Blockchain can be used as an accounting system for Bitcoin.
More generally speaking a Blockchain is a decentralised database technology that can be described as a sequence (=chain) of linked data records (=blocks). Those data records or “blocks” contain transactional information, i.e. bank transfers. What makes Blockchains so unique is that they are essentially tamper-proof and therefore play an unheralded role in exchanging sensitive information securely. Originally invented by a group of researchers in 1991, Blockchain was initially created to timestamp documented information to make it tamper-proof. However, the technology remained unused until 2008, when Bitcoin was developed under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto.
About Bitcoin (BTC)
Bitcoin is presently the most popular digital currency on the market. Following its creation, other individuals developed more currencies such as Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP) and Ethereum (ETH). (In the market and on the crypto exchanges all cryptos are known by their three-letter codes.) The idea behind Bitcoin was to slash online transaction fees and to ensure it was not controlled by any single authority. It is a completely decentralised currency.
Many believe that digital currency looks extremely promising for the future, and countries around the world are now jostling to get in on a slice of the action. Although this currency is not backed by any central banking system, it can be exchanged for traditional money (AKA fiat). The exchange rate is unbelievably good, and this appears to be one of the driving factors that is attracting investors. However, in 2014, the IRS decided that all virtual currencies were to be taxed as property tax. This caused investors to seek other alternatives to build their businesses and secure growth for their Bitcoin wealth
Digital Assets in Antigua
Home to a raft of spell-binding beaches, and known as a Caribbean country replete with opportunities, Antigua and Barbuda offer the luxury of tax residency – a boon to individuals. A series of visa, residence and citizenship schemes means that high-wealth professionals are entitled to tax exemptions irrespective of where they come from, simply by taking up residency. It’s a no-brainer that makes investing in global digital assets here a smart call.
On 18 June 2020, Antigua and Barbuda’s Senate took the inaugural step towards turning the country into a global digital asset destination by enacting the regulatory framework for The Digital Assets Business Bill 2020.
Overseen and developed by professional supervision from a number of key players in the digital assets industry, the bill is designed to regulate businesses that operate from the island. It also serves as a safeguard to protect digital asset exchanges and clients alike. Now that the bill has been introduced, both individuals and businesses can invest in different areas of the digital assets industry, primarily cryptocurrencies and iGaming. Relocate Antigua provides a full suite of services pursuant to the Digital Assets Bill. These encompass application for a digital asset business licence in Antigua, the setting-up of a head office and the provision of the services of the senior representative.
The Digital Assets Bill 2020 sets out that persons interested in partaking in any business activities will be issued a licence that allows them to:
- Issue, sell or redeem virtual coins or tokens or any other forms of digital assets
- Operate as a payment service business using digital assets
- Provide custodial wallet services
- Operate as a digital assets services vendor
With the introduction of Antigua’s Digital Assets Act, the country is also shaping up to benefit from the application and tokenization of Bitcoin SV.
Bitcoin Business in Antigua
Antigua has raced into the lead with the introduction of Antiguan Bitcoin-friendly businesses. The government is now able to create revenue using cryptocurrencies and is actively encouraging investors to relocate and enjoy the luxurious benefits that come as part and parcel of being an Antiguan resident.
Antigua and Barbuda’s digital assets strategy extends to the iGaming industry. Online gambling continues to be a thriving business venture in the country.
iGaming in Antigua
iGaming is the wagering of money or other items of value on the outcome of an online game. iGaming encompasses, inter alia, poker, sports betting and online casinos. This fast and convenient method of gambling serves as a platform for players who want to participate remotely.
In 1994 Antigua and Barbuda became one of the world’s first online gaming jurisdictions. Since then, Antigua and Barbuda has been regulating online gaming and issuing licences. Nowadays it is clearly one of the most popular and pivotal gaming jurisdictions worldwide
Antigua and Barbuda are one of the few countries where online gambling companies can operate lawfully, offering online sports betting and casino gaming platforms. The iGaming industry provides lucrative investment ventures, from game development to new facilities.
If the idea of embarking on emerging business opportunities in a picture-postcard location appeals, please contact us for further information and guidance on where to start and the best investment-grade digital assets. As specialists in all things Antiguan, Relocate Antigua offers a professional hand-holding service for all investors looking to diversify their portfolios and embrace the magic of island living. Reach out to one of our expert advisors and let’s start mapping out your best route to living the dream.