The country, facing rising seas and financial isolation, desperately needed a get-rich-quick scheme. Naturally, it decided to create a legal tender cryptocurrency.
The Marshall Islands Is Trying to Launch a Cryptocurrency
Paul, a top government minister He might have had reason to worry. The Marshall Islands crypto project, which was largely Paul’s baby, seemed like a good idea until the international finance community responded by threatening to cut off the tiny Pacific island nation from the global banking system. When the Nitijela passed the law authorizing the SOV in February, a Bitcoin was trading for more than $10,000, and someone had just spent 10 times as much for a virtual pet kitten based on crypto technology. But by the time of the no-confidence vote, in mid-November, Bitcoin was worth $6,000, and all kinds of crypto assets were hurting.
The Marshalls’ experience in the boom and bust throws into relief problems the country faced long before it tried to go crypto: increased isolation from the financial world as bank after bank fled the islands and a desperate need for cash. But some Marshallese worry the SOV brings new problems with an uncertain payoff. “There should have been more due diligence,” says Senator Bruce Bilimon, who abstained from the vote to create the currency but was in favor of the vote of no confidence. For the company that helped pull the Marshall Islands into the plan, he says, “it’s good it’s taking risks. But is it worth taking risks for a country?”
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