After the hurricane Maria touched the island of Puerto Rico, much of it has been left in dark. A natural disaster of this scale in a time of a huge debt has left the country in great disarray. In search of ways to recover from this situation, cryptocurrency billionaire Brock Pierce believes he can help in Puerto Rico’s economic development with investments in blockchain technology.
Not only would the blockchain technology help in the economic development but would also help the people in disaster relief plans. He believes that it is time that Puerto Rico finds its place in the hub of innovation. And the pleasure of bringing the world’s most innovative industry to a place that normally wouldn’t have been a hub, might turn out to be a wonderful thing if it works.
In September 2017, the hurricane Maria had hit the island, leaving behind ruins of the entire power grid system and about 4000 victims. It’s been ten months since, yet there are still many who have neither shelter nor food. Pierce is one of several billionaires who are interested in helping the situation. He became a billionaire when he invested his fortunes in Bitcoin and later founded Block.One, the startup behind the EOS blockchain, which has a market capitalisation of about $7.8 billion.
Unfortunately there are many Puerto Ricans who are unaware about the blockchain technology, making it unclear for them how such a complicated technology could help them recover from their problems. Yet, Pierce noted that their immediate problems of disaster relief could be helped with an appropriate blockchain infrastructure in place.
With blockchain, Puerto Ricans can rework their existing energy issues. The government is keen to make the country a cryptocurrency hub. According to CNBC, the government created great tax incentives to attract emerging startups and wealthy people. They see it as a new opportunity to help the struggling economy. The New York TImes reported back in February about this culture of mass migration of blockchain and crypto entrepreneurs to Puerto Rico precisely because of these lucrative tax exemptions.The country already has a thriving blockchain and crypto scene. The Department of Economic Development & Commerce mentioned that it was always the government’s vision to become a leader in export service and technology.
However, as a former colony of Spain and now the United States, the idea of wealthy US citizens gaining their grounds with new wealthy infrastructure on the island does not sell well with many locals. Even though many entrepreneurs believe that it is one of the best places to place a start-up, locals are reluctant to accept foreign help. In a video on ABC news, a local woman mentioned the Caribbean island “doesn’t need a savior”.
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