Trade and store crypto
Can I buy Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in Antigua & Barbuda? Yes, you can.
Spending Bitcoin in Antigua and Barbuda
In many respects, Antigua & Barbuda seems to be a jump ahead of others in the Caribbean. However, as with many islands that are dependent on being popular holiday resorts, crypto is proving itself an attractive option within the Antigua & Barbuda tourist industry.
Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash were accepted very early on in many shops and restaurants and cementing tourism is one of the island’s most important industries. The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) viewed Bitcoin as the most cost-effective (and measurable, unlike cash) means of payment for products and services. Cryptocurrency is seen as a way to process such income and boost the Caribbean economy and to further facilitate this, the CTO reached an agreement with Bitt Inc., a Barbados-based blockchain company.
An Antigua and Barbudan CBDC?
Pre-empting most countries, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank advocated the trailing of a blockchain-based digital currency CBDC, backed by the central bank, in which Antigua and Barbuda would participate.
This pilot program, entitled DXCD, started with development and testing, followed by rollout and implementation in the Caribbean countries for about six months during June and December 2020.
Following this stage, A & B became the second country to launch its own cryptocurrency. This was called Dcash, a Caribbean Dollars electronic version, and a blockchain technology-based currency. DCash was made available for trading goods in 2021 and available across the islands of Grenada, St. Lucia, and St. Kitts and Nevis as well as Antigua and Barbuda,
It is worth noting that in the Caribbean, tourism is one of the most influential industries. Therefore, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) hopes going digital can offer the most cost-effective means of payment for products and services in the tourism industry.
Bitcoin Mining in Antigua and Barbuda
As we have seen, Antigua and Barbuda has a favorable outlook towards cryptocurrency, and mining is perfectly legal and on the rise providing an attractive option for those who pool resources to combine effort and share the costs of energy consumption.
There are no restrictions, and as Bitcoin’s price has recovered strongly since mid-2022, energy demand will need to rise to meet the increased mining activity – which could lead to some restrictions.
Crypto regulation in Antigua and Barbuda
An introduction to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency trading in Antigua & Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda has been steadily moving forward to becoming one of the most crypto-receptive and digital asset-friendly of the Caribbean Islands (see Jamaica and Barbados on this site). The country’s Digital Assets Business Bill of 2020 was an early move towards regulating VASPs – virtual asset service providers – that were beginning to increase their presence on the island. The Bill provided for much-needed regulation of exchanges and, in turn, the greater protection of users and investors.
Licensing of exchanges and other VASPs is very much the order of the day across so many countries (especially since FTX galvanized governments into action). However, when Bitcoin’s price was booming, plenty of governments were quite content to delay regulations and adopt a ‘wait and see’ approach – especially when their countries became crypto hot spots. So Antigua & Barbuda got some sort of jump on many countries of a similar nature. Coming up to date, VASPs in Antigua and Barbuda need to obtain a license for operating as an exchange or wallet service. The Financial Services Regulatory Commission FSRC is the body that keeps these VASPs within the legal framework.
That said, things took a downward turn in 2021 when banking authorities (traditionally a sector that’s always at odds with governments around the world when it comes to cryptocurrency) advised citizens to avoid using Bitcoin ATMs. The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and the Financial Services Regulatory Commission FSRC stated that ATMs were unregulated – they weren’t banned though This strange about turn surprised many, so there must have been some deep misgivings somewhere in the establishment circles.
Taxes in Antigua and Barbuda
Bitcoin taxation in A & B
Antigua and Barbuda’s residents are not free from taxation but enjoy relaxed tax conditions with no capital gains, inheritance tax, income tax, or wealth tax on worldwide income or assets. Overseas tax residents also incur no inheritance or capital gains tax. If non-residents, however, generate dividends, interest, or royalties in Antigua & Barbuda, a withholding tax of 25% is due.