Jersey aims to be world’s first ‘bitcoin isle’

24 Jun 2014

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Gorey, Jersey

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The island of Jersey, part of the Channel Islands off the coast of France, is aiming to make itself the world’s first “bitcoin isle” after its treasury minister said he wants the island to be an innovator for the cryptocurrency.

Despite being a dependency of the United Kingdom, Jersey is controlled by its own semi-autonomous government and has controls over its own finances which until now, with its lower tax rates, had made it a favoured location for businesses to establish their financial base of operations, according to the BBC.

Now however, the island’s Treasury Minister Phillip Ozouf sees an opportunity to tap into bitcoin, having previously said, “(Bitcoin) is a sector that could hold significant opportunities for Jersey.

"Our infrastructure of world-class financial services and digital expertise gives us the tools to be an early leader in the field. Innovation will be central to Jersey’s future prosperity. We are keen to support local businesses by helping to create a well-regulated and responsive environment for investment in the sector."

A number of businesses on the island of fewer than 100,000 people have begun to accept bitcoin as a form of payment.

Robbie Andrews, of bit.coin.je, an organisation set up to encourage and establish bitcoin on Jersey, told the BBC he and his organisation have big plans for a cashless future for Jersey.

“In the same way email changed how we send files globally, bitcoin will change how we transact our lives. It is a network you can use for payment that is global and not managed by one industry body," Andrews said.

"My plan would be that you get the bus and pay using your phone. You get the paper, you pay with your phone. And at no point do you constantly give people your credit-card details."

Jersey image via Shutterstock

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Colm Gorey is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com