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“Crypto Colonialism” Invading Hurricane-Ravaged Puerto Rico



An opinion editorial penned by academics representing Anglia Ruskin University and Trinity College Dublin have claimed that cryptocurrency mining operations are putting a lot of stress on Puerto Rico’s infrastructure.

The article that was published on “The Conversation” contends that Puerto Rico has yet to completely bounce back from the damage caused by Hurricane Maria, and that the island is not at all prepared to cope with the wave of “crypto-colonialism” that has recently descended upon the island.

An article has argued that migrating cryptocurrency miners are putting massive strains on Puerto Rico’s recuperating infrastructure. The opinion piece was written 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 says that the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017 has left Puerto Rico “desperately” in need of “investment to rebuild the island’s infrastructure,” and compounded stark pre-existing financial challenges faced by the territory.

It is said financial difficulties, the authors say, that has led to “local authorities […] cautiously welcoming the arrival of cryptocurrency entrepreneurs on the island.”

The authors concluded that Puerto Rico’s “Resources and infrastructure, post-Hurricane Maria, are too stretched to support cryptocurrency mining on the island” – pinpointing to recent power failures that left as many as 175,000 businesses and households without electricity for hours on end, on top of the 400,000 Puerto Ricans who have been left without power for almost five months since the hurricane.

The article goes on to say that the cryptocurrency businessmen are looking to invest in projects that will support their own wealth, rather than help local citizens out.

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.”

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