Recently, the Economic Development and Trade’s Department (DDEC) of Puerto Rico launched a Blockchain Advisory Council. Its aim is to develop and attract companies that are based on blockchain technology, according to El Nuevo Dia (a local news outlet).
Manuel Laboy Rivera, who is the country’s secretary of economic development and commerce, announced this move in San Juan during the Blockchain Unbound conference. The advisory council will include members of both the public and private sector.
Also, it will include Luis Arocho, who is the chief innovation officer (CIO) of the government, George Joyner, who is its commissioner of Financial Institutions, and some entrepreneurs of blockchain industry who recently moved to Puerto Rico.
El Nuevo Dia, reports the advisory will unofficially act as a filter to distinguish legitimate blockchain projects that help solve the country’s problems, from projects that do not hold any kind of value.
Note that recently blockchain has become a buzzword that companies take advantage of. For instance, the shares of Long Island Iced Tea surged 300% after it rebranded to Long Blockchain, according to CCN. Therefore, the government should be very careful regarding which projects to support, considering that the term “Blockchain” is currently used as a catchphrase from many companies.
In addition, Mr. Rivera explained that the government, through the Blockchain Advisory Council, is going to develop the best possible legal framework and regulations in order to support blockchain businesses. As a US commonwealth, Puerto Rico offers entrepreneurs the same protections that the US federal government offers.
After the Hurricane Maria decimated the infrastructure of the country back in September, many entrepreneurs gathered to Puerto Rico (about the same time the majority of cryptocurrencies saw their price skyrocket). The government of Puerto Rico has offered entrepreneurs attractive tax incentives, in an effort to boost its depressed economy.
We can find one of these incentives within the Internal Revenue Code, in Act 22. It reportedly allows the non-residents to avoid paying taxes on long-term capital gains.
What does Puerto Rico hope to achieve?
Mr. Rivera told to CNBC that before the natural disaster, they were already aiming Puerto Rico to become a world leader in exports services and technology. Not just a regional leader, but a world leader. This was the vision that Gov. Rossello has for the island.