Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Cryptocurrency
Saint Vincent and The Grenadines Cryptocurrency Laws
Regulation of Digital Currencies: Cryptocurrency, Bitcoins, Blockchain Technology
The government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has not passed any legislation that specifically deals with cryptocurrency. However, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are participating in the ECCB pilot program. The program’s purpose is to implement cryptocurrency as a fiat currency. There are seven other members of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) beside Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; the Commonwealth of Dominica; Grenada; Montserrat; Saint Kitts and Nevis; and Saint Lucia. The ECCU is subject to the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB)’s authority. The ECCB’s official currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar. If the program is successful, then residents in any of the above-mentioned countries will be authorized to pay for goods and services with either physical Eastern Caribbean dollars or digital Eastern Caribbean dollars.
The ECCB initiated a pilot program to test the utilization of digital currency as a governmental legal tender. In 2018, the ECCB initiated the program by signing a contract with a fin-tech company named Bitt Inc. (“Bitt”). Bitt and the ECCB entered a legal relationship to create a digital version of the EC dollar (DXCD). The DXCD is distributed by licensed financial institutions and non-bank institutions within the ECCU. The DXCD facilitates peer-to-peer transactions as well as financial transactions between consumers and merchants. The ECCB launched in March 2019 and consisted of two phases: the development and testing phase and the rollout and implementation phase in the pilot countries. In the second phase, the ECCB will ramp up its sensitization and education initiatives to facilitate public engagement throughout its member countries.
Digital Currency – Blockchains
The DXCD makes it easier for people in the islands to send and receive money while avoiding transaction fees. For example, someone in Saint Vincent can send a DXCD securely from their smartphone to a friend on another island in a matter of seconds without the burden of paying transaction fees.
According to the CEO of Bitt, the program’s main goal is to use blockchain technology to “solve persistent financial problems” and enhance the “economic growth and the quality of life of ordinary people.” The Governor of the ECCB, Timothy N.J. Antoine, pronounced that the DXCD is revolutionary because it will be the first digital legal tender issued by a central bank using blockchain technology. The program permits residents of Saint Vincent to use a governmental-sponsored digital currency as a medium of exchange. Saint Vincent residents can now pay for goods and services using cash, debit cards, credit cards, and digital currency. The main aim of the program is to “reduce cash usage with the ECCU by 50%, promote greater financial sector stability, and expedite the growth and development of our member countries.”
P.S. Insights on Cryptocurrency Legal Issues
Most jurisdictions and authorities have yet to enact laws governing cryptocurrencies, meaning that, for most countries, the legality of crypto mining remains unclear.
Under the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), crypto miners are considered money transmitters, so they may be subject to the laws that govern that activity. In Israel, for instance, crypto mining is treated as a business and is subject to corporate income tax. In India and elsewhere, regulatory uncertainty persists, although Canada and the United States are relatively friendly to crypto mining.
However, apart from jurisdictions that have specifically banned cryptocurrency-related activities, very few countries prohibit crypto mining.
Our Freeman Law Cryptocurrency Law Resource page provides a summary of the legal status of cryptocurrency for each country across the globe with statutory or regulatory provisions governing cryptocurrency. The globe below provides links to country-by-country summaries:
Is cryptocurrency legal in Saint Vincent?
Do you have questions about cryptocurrency, digital currencies, or blockchain technology?
Freeman Law can help with digital currencies, tax planning, and tax compliance. Contact us now to schedule a consultation, or call (214) 984-3410 to discuss your cryptocurrency and blockchain technology concerns.
 ECCB to Issue World’s First Blockchain-based Digital Currency | Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, (2019), Eccb-Centralbank.org.