The British Virgin Islands is continuing its push into the financial technology (Fintech) space as a means of ensuring that it is not left behind as technology moves forward. At its recent Digital Economy Symposium held on December 3, 2019, the BVI Government reconfirmed its commitment to the development of the Fintech sector through its ongoing partnership with LIFElabs.io which will develop the systems for providing rapid cash response in emergency situations, and also create an alternative digital currency payment method to facilitate financial transactions across the Territory. The current proposal is for a government-backed digital currency called BVI~LIFE which will be pegged to the United States dollar at a 1:1 ratio.
At the Symposium, Premier Andrew Fahie stated, "The importance of blockchain technology and the significant benefits it offers the BVI are paramount to the Territory. We welcome this innovation with open arms. Our partner, LIFElabs, has demonstrated with their proven track record that their ideology is not just mere words, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with them on the rollout of BVI~LIFE, our digital currency."
Specifically, LIFElabs will develop a Rapid Cash Response system and a Platform Service model, as follows.
Rapid Cash Response
This system will offer aid in the event of a national emergency. In September 2017, Hurricane Irma ravaged the BVI, causing $3 billion in damages and untold emotional trauma to residents. Due to infrastructure damage, people were unable to access their cash to buy everyday essentials. The Rapid Cash Response system will enable the government to swiftly respond to future disasters, affording residents unimpeded access to their funds, and thus mitigating the negative impact to their welfare.
This model uses blockchain solutions and will connect merchant services, peer to peer transactions, and cross-border payments in a manner that would be available to all businesses in all sectors as a turn-key solution.
According to Sanjay Jadhav, LIFELabs.io CEO, the partnership puts the company in a unique position to make a massive impact in a place that really stands to benefit. He says the foundation of a digital currency is necessary groundwork for the BVI to continue to serve the global economy as it has in the past with the onset of the blockchain revolution.
Some well known digital currency companies including Bitfinex were set up in the BVI, and many BVI companies and funds are investing in Fintech. The regulatory regime in the BVI, with respect to Fintech, is still in the developmental stages, but some changes are expected over time.
Bookmark this page as we will continue to update readers with progress as it evolves.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.