Jersey, an autonomous island of the UK, is a well established "tax haven" and besides tourism the island's economy is driven by financial services. This has lead to an increasingly affluent people on the cutting edge of financial and technological innovation. Naturally the island wants to secure its future in the emerging world of digital currency. A local campaign group, bit.coin.je, has recently been set up to pursue Bitcoin understanding and adoption on the island. The group is an alliance of Jersey-based businesses and entrepreneurs who foresee the importance of digital currency and how it could benefit their community.
The membership of bit.coin.je consists largely of tech-savvy islanders who are well established in the technology and cryptocurrency spaces and also the local island community. Moving forward they feel that transparency and involvement from island locals in the group are key to convincing bitcoin adoption among residents and business owners on the island.
Their website details that the group "firmly believe(s) that the Blockchain is one of the most important inventions since the start of the internet and are constantly looking at how Jersey could adopt this technology" and that the group plans to "help introduce local businesses to experts in this field & explore how Bitcoin could benefit their business models".
The island has recently announced that it will become home to the first ever regulated Bitcoin fund, Global Advisors Bitcoin Investment Fund (GABI), as of August 1st. The fund has been certified by the Jersey Financial Services Commission and means that traditional investments types such as pensions can now be invested in Bitcoin and secured by the same security features in commonly used financial products.
bit.coin.je is also making moves to make Jersey the first Bitcoin island with 13 business already accepting Bitcoin. The group wants blanket adoption across the island in the same vein as other geographical locations which have already done this such as Bitcoin Boulevard in the Netherlands and Kreuzberg, Berlin in Germany. Jersey is the perfect home for initial experiments with attempting to build a localised economy running on cryptocurrency. Due to it's small size and independent government it has been a hotbed for cutting edge computing in the past as developments can easily be adopted by the smaller amount of people who have the financial means to do so.
Senator Philip Ozouf, the Treasury Minister for Jersey, sees this opportunity very clearly and wants the island to pursue the innovation: "Our infrastructure of world-class financial services and digital expertise gives us the tools to be an early leader in the field. Innovation will be central to Jersey's future prosperity. We are keen to support local businesses by helping to create a well-regulated and responsive environment for investment in the sector".
If Jersey can succeed in their efforts to embrace Bitcoin the outcome can serve as an example for other localised implementations of cryptocurrency adoption. The experiment has a great deal of room for failure however as businesses and locals could be reluctant to adopt because of Bitcoin's past and future potential for illegal transactions or current price volatility.
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