A number of newly wealthy Cryptocurrency entrepreneurs and investors are moving to Puerto Rico and are planning to rebuild a country that has recently been devastated by Hurricane Maria. In the process, they conveniently avoid paying US-Taxes since Puerto Rico doesn’t have any federal personal income taxes, capital gains tax or too burdensome business taxes. The icing on the cake is for many that they can even avoid renouncing their American citizenship.
Since the Hurricane in September 2017 destroyed large parts of Puerto Rico’s Infrastructure, as well as the bullish run cryptocurrencies have seen over the following timeframe, many of cryptocurrencies wealthiest have traveled to San Juan and started buying up properties. While the project was originally named “Puertopia”, the people involved figured they might want to rename it, since Puertopia means in Latin “Eternal Playground for Boys”, which sounds a little strange.
The Project, now known as “Sol”, wants to create a utopia functioning solely on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies.
They aim to show the world how a crypto future could look like
For the time being, the Puertopians have found refuge in the Monastery, a 20,000-square-foot hotel in the center of the old city that was left more or less unscathed by the Hurricane. Until they have found land they want to buy, they are renting out the entire Hotel.
Brock Pierce, 37, is the leader of the Puertopian Movement and has been on the Island since December. He’s an Entrepreneur, Venture Capitalist, Director of the Bitcoin Foundation and a notable figure in the crypto community.
When asked what was guiding them there he replied:
“Compassion, respect, financial transparency”
But he’s also concerned that people will think that the movement is only about dodging taxes.
“I’m worried that people are going to misinterpret our actions.”
Matt Clemenson, a co-founder of Lottery.com, which is using Blockchain-Technology in lotteries, sees it this way: “We’re benevolent capitalists, building a benevolent economy. Puerto Rico has been this hidden gem, this enchanted island that’s been consistently overlooked and mistreated. Maybe 500 years later we can make it right.”
Many in Puerto Rico welcome this worldwide interest in their country and don’t mind the attractive taxes ushering the wealthy in as long as they spend their money on the island.
But not everyone in Puerto Rico is excited about the influx of new money and technology
Rob Rill, who’s also a Puertorican tax expat, Hedge Fund Manager and runs a social group for those taking advantage of the local tax incentives, reports:
“They call me up saying they’re going to buy 250,000 acres so they can incorporate their own city, literally start a city in Puerto Rico to have their own crypto world. I can’t engage in that.”
Andria Satz, 33, who works for the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico, also sees an unpleasant contrast between the way rich outsiders and the locals are being treated:
“We’re the tax playground for the rich,” she said. “We’re the test case for anyone who wants to experiment. Outsiders get tax exemptions, and locals can’t get permits.”
But as long as the local Government is receptive to the crypto arrivals, they are unlikely to move away, ensuring Puerto Rico’s crypto future for the time being. In fact, the Puertopians say they are close to getting the approval of the local government to set up their own cryptocurrency bank and had the governor of the local government speak at their blockchain summit conference, called Puerto Crypto.
Will “Sol” become a reality and thus a safe haven for cryptocurrency investors and enthusiasts worldwide? Only time can tell.