The British Virgin Islands — a United Kingdom Overseas Territory in the Carribean — has partnered with blockchain firm Lifelabs.io to launch an alternative crypto-enabled payments infrastructure for residents across its network of islands. The development was reported in a BVI government press release on April 18.
The BVI government will implement Lifelabs’ blockchain Platform as a Service (PaaS), which reportedly reduces transaction fees by over 50%, as well as providing significant time savings as compared with Automated Clearing House (ACH) electronic payments, the press release notes.
Both parties underscore that implementing a blockchain payments infrastructure — which supports peer-to-peer and local commercial transactions — will ensure that residents can continue to access essential goods and services in the event of a humanitarian crisis.
The BVI notably suffered damages in excess of $3 billion during hurricane Irma in 2017 — three times its estimated GDP of $1 billion. The partners have therefore also launched a crypto charity platform, BVI/Life Rapid Response Cash Fund, which will aim to foster transparency and efficiency for donations, ensuring that funds actually reach those in need.
Andrew Fahie — premier (head of government) and Minister of Finance of the BVI — has said that blockchain-powered financial innovation “comes at a pivotal time for our people and our economy, while the memory of recent natural disasters remains fresh in our minds and hearts, and the pressure for increased economic efficiency keeps mounting.”