What could bitcoin represent to the Eastern Caribbean trader? Actual underlying trust and societal efficiencies …

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If I traded a bitcoin for an Eastern Caribbean dollar, I would receive, according to data from OANDA, EC118,665. (Forgive me for using “EC” versus “XCD”. I am old school). If I then attempt to transact business in the United States or Europe, what could that bitcoin buy for me?

According to the website Decrypt, there are a growing number of vendors that accept bitcoin in exchange for their products. The categories include:

Used automobiles;

Private aircraft;

Houses;

Real estate investment trusts;

High-fashion clothing;

Restaurant food;

Virtual private networks and web services;

Booking hotels and flights; or

Commodities (gold, silver, platinum, etc.).

To profit from the aforementioned trade, I would wish to purchase goods and services that I would not be able to get in the Eastern Caribbean; purchase items at a cost lower than what I would face in the Eastern Caribbean; or, at the end of the day, convert that bitcoin into EC greater than EC118,665.

More importantly, as an independent trader, I could finance directly trade that I enter into with vendors in countries that accept bitcoin as legal tender, such as El Salvador. Rather than going to a bank and converting my EC for El Salvador’s colon, I could pay an El Salvador vendor directly with bitcoin, the country’s other legal tender.

Bitcoin could represent greater efficiency in trade between countries by turning a trader with the financial wherewithal into a “mini-bank.” The value of the currency he uses for trade, bitcoin or some other crypto, would be based on the underlying value of his services, goods, or knowledge, rather than on the general good faith and trust underlying fiat currencies. Blockchain ledger characteristics aside, a cryptocurrency capturing the trader’s reputation, insights, knowledge would go a much longer way with me where I can put together and engage with my own mini-community of traders in the goods and services I listed above. I could put together a community of actual producers and deal efficiently and directly with them, cutting out unnecessary middlemen along the way.

Could society benefit from such direct-financed trade? I think yes, particularly where cost savings flow to retailers and end-users. Eastern Caribbean traders should explore this model.

Alton Drew

02.17.2022

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