A report by Dana Leigh for Tech Round.
“One Bequia is not about “stuffy” luxury.”
“The luxury is there for comfort, not appearances,” says Storm Gonsalves, the man behind an innovative development project on the idyllic Caribbean island of Bequia.
The island is the ‘cool cousin’ of nearby St. Vincent. The locals joke that billionaires are leaving St. Vincent for Bequia to get away from the millionaires.
Storm explains the origins of his project:
“As a Vincentian who spent a lot of their childhood growing up in Bequia, I developed a strong connection to the beautiful island in the Grenadines. I always knew this place had something special to offer the world. I sought to create a forward-looking community development where digital nomads and holidaymakers can feel at home with all the modern comforts that you can expect in a metropolis such as London or New York, whilst also experiencing our warm Caribbean culture.”
While every corner of these islands offers breathtaking beauty, the ‘cookie cutter’ approach to property development has left those looking for something different somewhat disappointed.
Says Storm: “The Caribbean is known for its laidback island atmosphere. It’s not exactly the place you would expect a groundbreaking property development on global proportions to take place. I wanted to break out of this mould and surprise the world by pioneering a new way of project financing, such as. the use of alternative payment methods such as bitcoin.”
Properties in the One Bequia development are available to buy in Bitcoin. And residents will be able to use Bitcoin in the bars and restaurants within the development too.
It’s not a gimmick either. There’s a very real reason One Bequia is seeking to become ‘Bitcoin Island’.
“Residents of small island nations are finding it increasingly difficult to send and receive money because of “derisking” by large international banks. The process of derisking is when these large institutions remove their intermediary banking services from smaller island-based community banks.
“This prevents the island-based banks from transacting internationally. If this trend continues it means small island nations will be essentially cut off from international trade and commerce. For tourism-based economies this would be devastating. This has pushed many Caribbean island nations to adopt blockchain and other cryptocurrencies a lot faster than other more developed nations. Bermuda, Bahamas, Barbados and now St. Vincent are leading the way in this regard.
“The only difference with a bitcoin transaction compared to a cash transaction is that the conversion price will be predetermined and agreed between buyer and seller. For instance, the process entails that a deposit be paid, the bitcoin will be sent to our wallet, where we then convert it to our desired fiat currency to hold as a deposit.
“This deposit can only be refunded if the purchaser cannot attain a landholding license which as described is a straightforward process. No one has been denied in the last 20 years. In the unlikely event a refund is necessary, we will refund the buyer in the fiat currency we converted from bitcoin. When the balance of the sale price has to be paid the same process is followed. Likewise for the construction contract which follows shortly after.