Some countries like Bangladesh, Bolivia, and Egypt have banned crypto outright. Bangladesh has gone as far as to enable cryptocurrency holders to be sentenced to 12 years in prison for the crime of owning crypto. Other countries like the US, India, and China are still assessing and creating the regulatory framework around the industry.
All this fear, uncertainty, and doubt have driven crypto investors and crypto projects alike to search for crypto havens where they will be welcomed with open arms and able to focus on creating the decentralized world of the future.
The good news is that some countries are backing blockchain or adopting a ‘do no harm’ approach to this emerging tech movement. Well known pro-cryptocurrency countries include the likes of Singapore and Switzerland. However, other crypto hubs such as Costa Rica are quickly emerging too. In this article, we’ll explore what’s going on in Costa Rica and why it could become one of the blockchain powerhouses of the future.
What Makes Costa Rica Pro Crypto?
To get an idea of how favorably the Costa Rica government views cryptocurrency, it is one of the few countries in the world where workers can legally be paid in crypto. The only drawback here is that salary payments up to the minimum wage must be paid in fiat and everything above that can be paid using cryptocurrency. Now, if that isn’t a massive endorsement then we don’t know what is.
With the Costa Rican government having such a friendly stance, it’s not surprising that actual crypto adoption is rising quickly and that increasing numbers of crypto businesses are looking to, or have, relocated to the nation. We imagine it also doesn’t hurt that Costa Rica is home to some of the most stunning scenery on the planet and is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. This makes it the ideal getaway for crypto pioneers who want to keep in touch with nature whilst building disruptive tech.
Cryptocurrency Adoption In Costa Rica
Wherever you are in the world, the chances are you are going to have a hard time finding anywhere on the high street that accepts crypto as a payment method. In Costa Rica, things are a little different.
Feel like buying a Porsche with your Bitcoin? Well, you’d better hop over to San Rafael de Escazu in Costa Rica and place your order. If you find yourself walking down the streets of Pura Vida in Costa Rica, then don’t be surprised to find huge banners telling you that crypto is accepted at many stores either.
With cryptocurrency adoption being significantly more prevalent on the ground than in other countries, it is maybe not surprising to hear that the acceptance of crypto spills over to online merchants in Costa Rica. AlfaTop enables users to top-up their phones on any of the major telecoms operators in the country using a choice of five different cryptos.
With the nation’s relatively small population of 5 million people, it is perhaps surprising that the country has 3 active cryptos ATMs. Now, that may not sound like a lot, but consider that the Philippines is widely considered as pro-crypto, has a population of 105 million, and only has a single crypto ATM.
So, if you have crypto and actually want to spend it in a pro-crypto culture, then you should consider putting Costa Rica at the top of your vacation list.
What Else Makes Costa Rica An Ideal Crypto Haven?
The Latin American region is renowned for being politically unstable and characterized by military strongmen seizing power. Costa Rica stands apart from the crowd by being renowned for peace and liberty.
Indeed, the nation is the oldest democracy in the whole Latin American region and the nation has shown its dedication to peace by refusing to have a standing army since 1949. This has led to Costa Rica being one of the most politically stable countries in the region. Combined with the nation’s stable political framework, Costa Rica also offers flexible legal structures and the legal jurisdiction is also perfect for building censorship-resistant networks.
That’s not all; the nation also has one of the best online infrastructures in the region. When it comes to fiber-optic connections, Costa Ricans get access to the ARCOS-1, MAYA-1, and Pan American Crossing (PAC) networks. In addition, the nation is connected via a terrestrial fiber-optic network as well. That all means that decentralized projects building in the country can be assured that they will get top-notch connectivity.
The Costa Rican Crypto Projects
With the Costa Rican government-friendly stance on crypto, spiking adoption levels, and growing crypto community, it’s no wonder that more and more crypto-based businesses are locating in the nation. We’ll take a brief look at who these projects are and what they are up to on the coasts and jungles of Costa Rica.
For the crypto miners out there, Costa Rica also enjoys one of the largest renewable energy outputs in the world. Indeed, 90% of the power produced in the country comes from renewable sources and that makes mining significantly more profitable than other regions in the world.
EOS Costa Rica
EOS is the brainchild of Dan Larimar and is a blockchain platform for the development of decentralized apps. It is a direct competitor to Ethereum and has been branded by many as an ‘Ethereum Killer’ of the future. EOS has 30 different block producers, whose job is to create and maintain the infrastructure required to run the EOS blockchain. EOS Costa Rica is one such block producer.
EOS Costa Rica has also pledged to achieve the following actions from the Latin American nation:
- Fund and secure the investment required to run a competitive EOS block producer.
- To pursue EOS education initiatives in the Latin American region.
- Be transparent in the use of block rewards.
- To support dApps and projects that promote democracy and the freedom of individuals.
- Being part of the discussion of blockchain governance whilst being politically neutral.
- To adhere to and defend the EOS constitution.
The presence of a top-five cryptocurrency in Costa Rica can only help but elevate the status of the country as a crypto haven and EOS Costa Rica can be seen as paving the way for many more projects to follow.
The problem with many cryptocurrencies is that they are too tricky for your typical person to understand and use. That’s a massive barrier to the adoption of cryptocurrency as a form of digital cash. Nimiq has made it their mission to make crypto more easily accessible to the masses and to lower the barriers to adoption.
First off, you should know that Nimiq is a payment system, powered by their innovative browser-based blockchain. This payment system uses the native NIM token to transfer value within the ecosystem. What sets Nimiq apart from other crypto payment systems is that it’s been designed with simple and easy user-flow which has many referring to the project as ‘the Apple of crypto payment systems’. Nimiq’s innovative browser-based blockchain also means that users can connect to the blockchain without any downloads at all and ‘just works’.
The Costa Rican based project is also going after merchant adoption and has designed a one-click pay checkout process which can be seen on the Nimiq store. This merchant integration will shortly be released the open-source to allow e-businesses from around the world to accept NIM as a payment method. The Nimiq ecosystem also hosts a range of ideas and apps, where you can find anything from a NIM-based Tamagotchi game to tip bots allowing you to donate to your favorite content creators on Twitter, Twitch, Discord, Telegram, and Reddit.
There are of course many other exciting crypto and blockchain businesses based in Costa Rica. However, there is little doubt that the Costa Rican government has embraced blockchain-based businesses with open arms. The regulation surrounding cryptocurrencies is some of the most favorable in the world. When this is combined with factors such as relatively high crypto adoption rates, a rapidly growing crypto community, being one of the most politically stable countries in the region, great infrastructure, being one of the world leaders in renewable energy, and having an amazing climate, it is easy to see why Costa Rica is quickly emerging as a new crypto haven.
The future seems bright for Costa Rica and blockchain-based projects and it will certainly be interesting to see if the nation can continue to attract crypto businesses in 2019 and beyond. If the recent explosion in attendance of crypto meetups and conferences in Costa Rica is anything to go by, then in the near future we could well see the nation emerge as a Blockchain-tiger economy of the Latin America region.
Disclaimer: The author holds some NIM in their portfolio and is compensated in a long-term independent consulting capacity by Nimiq. This article must not be construed as investment advice. Always do your own research.