Antigua and Barbuda: Bitcoin Is Now Doomed

What is Bitcoin? It is a virtual cryptocurrency, which means that it has no substance and is not underwritten by anyone or any asset other than its creator's reputation. It has an imaginary or perceived value.

Bitcoin and other crypto currencies have their supporters, particularly amongst the online gaming and gambling community. They claim they meet the needs of the Internet instant economy. That it is a modern state of the art technological solution and that avoids the slow, expensive and regulated banking system.

Critics of the software argue it is unregulated, exposed to abuse, and being encrypted is secret between two parties. They claim it is yet another dot.com bubble waiting to burst.

In December 2017, Andrew Bailey, head of the UK's Financial Conduct Authority, echoing Chris Woolard, his Director of Strategy & Competition's warning in June 2017, announced that investing in bitcoin was akin to gambling as they are not regulated, not within the remit of central authorities or have the consumer protection of traditional assets and, are therefore, not a safe investment.

In an interview with the BBC's Newsnight programme he said, "It is a very volatile commodity in terms of its pricing. If you want to invest in bitcoin be prepared to lose your money, that would be my serious warning." However, in response to CBOE's recent launch he added, "If you buy a future or if you buy an option then we do come into the picture." The latest cautions follow the FCA's formal warning in September 2017 about Initial Coin Offerings, when it stated they were "very high-risk, speculative investments."

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase has labelled bitcoin a fraud that would eventually blow up and Warren Buffet has urged traders to "stay away from it," calling it a "mirage."

All bubbles burst.

If any investment rises 1000% in a year and suffers extreme volatility, questions must be asked.

Some argue that the recent listing of Future Bitcoin on the NASDAQ is proof positive that it is a highly risky "investment."

This is precisely what Bitcoin is – a highly risky investment. It is not a currency... backed by reliable data, economic factors, political and social policies, a track record, assets, governments and, crucially, a financial protection or insurance scheme. It is driven entirely by price. As such its temporality and very existence relies on perception and trust.

Other critics voice much stronger concerns. They claim its massive growth in price is as a result of criminality in the form of its appeal for money laundering and tax evasion.

One commentator described Bitcoin and other crypto currencies as the modern version of container fraud perfected by 80's & 90's criminals such as John Palmer, to circumvent official bank accounts that included Coutts, by simply transferring the ownership of particular containers of loot to another owner.

In response in early December the UK Government has announced plan to strengthen regulation and force traders in crypto currency to disclose their identities and report any suspicious activity

In a competent and experienced jurisdiction investors could take some comfort.

However, Calvin Ayre, the creator of Bodog has chosen his new flight home of Antigua & Barbuda as the new hub of his Bitcoin empire.

Calvin Ayre fled the USA amid charges. Antigua welcomed him and sheltered him as they have done for several fugitives from international justice over the years. Indeed, their own financial regulator Leroy King has been protected from prosecution for his complicity in the arguably largest fraud in world banking history by R Allen Stanford, a former benefactor to A&B Government and stripped Knight of the Realm.

On July 14th 2017 Chief Judge Catherine Blake of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland accepted a resolution that dismissed all of the felony charges against Calvin Ayre and Bodog. The GOAB, which is involved in a long-standing bitter WTO online gambling dispute with the USA, responded by appointing him as an economic envoy to represent its so-called digital revolution.

However, it is the creation of a crypto hub in Antigua that should worry the market and regulators alike.

Antigua and Barbuda has an unenviable reputation for lack of transparency and non-cooperation with law enforcement agencies.

It remains one of only two entire countries that have ever been the subject of Treasury Advisories by the US & UK authorities.

Following the example of other failed governments, such as Cuba, Venezuela and Zimbabwe, Antigua has expropriated the Half Moon Bay resort, once the private property of American investors, breaching its constitutional obligation to pay the owners for what it euphemistically calls a "compulsory acquisition". Individuals following this saga will recognise that it has gone on for more than 15 years, and that the dispossessed owners have now taken the enforcement of the Privy Council's Judgment, establishing the award of compensation due, beyond the boundaries of Antigua's jurisdiction.

The GOAB is also currently mired in a further land controversy over its treatment of inhabitants of Barbuda, "the sister island" of the twin state of Antigua and Barbuda, after its destruction by Hurricane Irma in September 2017, which left the island uninhabited for the first time in 300 years.

Recently Jon Snow, the eminent UK news broadcaster, highlighted the Barbudan nation's plight when he suggested that students petitioning to change the name of their halls of residence would be better placed getting behind a proper cause, such as helping Barbudans recover their rights.

Antigua has a track record of harassing journalists and the current Administration has created an environment where press freedom is a thing of the past. A particular vicious and cowardly assault has been perpetrated against Ian "Magic" Hughes, a local journalist, who had the courage to speak out against state wrongdoings and now faces the prospect of a long sentence in an abominable Antiguan jail.

The tiny island nation has frequently been linked to money laundering, illegal arms shipments, loss of correspondent banking facilities and a long term string of financial institutional failures that culminated in the Stanford debacle.

It is the also the home to a highly controversial so-called Citizen by Investment Programme that involves the issue of passports in exchange for investment monies.

CIP beneficiaries include Alexandre Cazes, a 26-year-old Canadian, who was an administrator / suspected co-founder of AlphaBay, one of the world's largest dark web marketplaces that mysteriously went offline was found dead in a Thai jail.

Peter Singh Virdee, a British businessman known as "Batman" is facing extradition to Germany and a possible 15-year prison sentence for alleged £109 million VAT carousel fraud. Virdee, also a recipient of an Antiguan passport, is behind in the 1,000-acre Gravenor Virdee project in Barbuda and solar power plants in Antigua.

More than two years on from the much-heralded launch of the controversial $2 billion Yida development known the Guiana Island project, has seen the enigmatic disappearance of its owner and CIP proponent Chinese billionaire Xiao Jianhua.

The CIP has long generated concern and it well worth noting that the Canadian Government now requires visa applications for all entering Canada on an Antiguan passport ... something that was not the case until the summer of 2017.

All in all Antigua and Bitcoin are a perfect match. It is a fitting resting place when the bubble bursts.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions