The Marshall Islands is set to release its own cryptocurrency called the Sovereign after the Parliament voted to approve an official cryptocurrency as legal tender, a move that could end its reliance on the US Dollar as its official currency.
The Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI), a chain of 1,156 volcanic islands and islets in the Pacific with a population of over 70,000, could see a cryptocurrency as legal tender as early as this year. Speaking to Bloomberg, senator and Speaker of Parliament Kenneth Kedi revealed members voted to pivot away from its current fiat currently – the US dollar, toward an official local cryptocurrency.
The government will name the cryptocurrency as the ‘Sovereign’ and will arrange an initial coin offering to raise financing toward enriching local budgets. Further, cryptocurrency exchanges will be encouraged to apply to list and trade the Sovereign, revealed David Paul, minister-in-assistance to the islands’ President.
Detailing the need for an initial coin offering, the official said:
"This was specifically targeted for the long-term needs of the country."
A portion of the funds raised will also be allocated to provide health care to citizens who continue to suffer from radiation-related illnesses following US nuclear tests for over a decade on several islands. As the Washington Post reports: From 1946 to 1958, the United States conducted 67 tests in the Marshall Islands. If their combined explosive power was parceled evenly over that 12-year period, it would equal 1.6 Hiroshima-size explosions per day.
‘There are still radiation-related cancers that have yet to develop or be diagnosed in the population of Marshallese who were on the islands between 1948 and 1970, according to a 2004 report by the U.S. National Cancer Institute.’
The country is continuing to pursue compensation claims with the United States but the latter does not see any pressure to pay it. The Independent Nuclear Claims Tribunal awarded the islands $2.3 billion in health and property damages but that has gone unpaid.
The Marshallese Islands’ move to embrace its own cryptocurrency as legal tender would effectively lower its dependence on the United States Dollar. Details are scarce and it remains to be seen if the Sovereign could supplant the USD altogether.
For now, the RMI is looking likely to figure among the earliest countries in the world to adopt an official cryptocurrency. A council can still object to the plan in the coming days after members of parliament approved the plan, but that’s unlikely, said Speaker Kedi.
Featured image from Shutterstock.