Academics Claim “Crypto-Colonialism” Rampant in Puerto Rico

Academics Claim “Crypto-Colonialism” Rampant in Puerto Rico

An opinion piece authored by academics representing Anglia Ruskin University and Trinity College Dublin have alleged that cryptocurrency mining operations are placing strains on Puerto Rico’s infrastructure. The article argues that Puerto Rico has not fully recovered from the damage reaped by Hurricane Maria, and that the island is ill-equipped to cope with the wave of “crypto-colonialism” that has recently beset the island.

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Puerto Rico Ravaged by Hurricane Maria

Academics Claim "Crypto-Colonialism" Rampant in Puerto RicoAn article has claimed that migrating cryptocurrency miners are placing strains on Puerto Rico’s recovering infrastructure. The opinion piece is authored by lecturer in accounting and finance at Anglia Ruskin University in the UK, Larisa Yarovaya, and professor of international finance and commodities at Trinity College Dublin, Brian Lucey.

The article states that the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria in 2017 has left Puerto Rico “desperately” in need of “investment to rebuild the island’s infrastructure,” and compounded severe pre-existing financial difficulties faced by the territory. It is said financial difficulties, the authors argue, that has lead to “local authorities […] cautiously welcoming the arrival of cryptocurrency entrepreneurs on the island.”

The authors conclude that Puerto Rico’s “Resources and infrastructure, post-Hurricane Maria, are too stretched to support cryptocurrency mining on the island” – pointing to recent power outages that left as many as 175,000 businesses and households without power for many hours, on top of the 400,000 Puerto Ricans who have remained without power for nearly five months since the hurricane/

“Crypto-Colonialism” Besets Puerto Rico

Academics Claim "Crypto-Colonialism" Rampant in Puerto RicoThe article argues that the cryptocurrency entrepreneurs are seeking to invest in projects that will augment their own wealth, rather than the wealth of local citizens.

The authors point to “the wealthy crypto expats[‘] want to use the blockchain system for decentralized elections and […] citizenship ID,” expressing “doubt” that the “locals who are fighting poverty will be enthused by [these] ideas.” Said initiatives are described as resembling disaster capitalism – the opportunistic exploitation of state wounded by disaster in order to realize a political project.

Do you agree with the authors’ argument that Puerto Rico may be experiencing “crypto-colonialism” in the wake of Hurricane Maria? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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