Cryptocurrency Exchange Planned By Antigua And Barbuda With Online Gambling Mogul

Announcements, News | April 2, 2018 By:

The government of Antigua and Barbuda is planning to set up a cryptocurrency exchange to generate revenue for the nation’s treasury in partnership with controversial online gambling executive Calvin Ayre.

Antigua and Barbuda is an independent Commonwealth country comprising its two namesake islands and several smaller ones. Antigua and Barbuda are in the middle of the Leeward Islands, part of the Lesser Antilles. The country has a population of 100,963, mostly made up of people of West African, British, and Madeiran descent.

According to local news site Antigua Observer, Antigua and Barbuda is determined to be on the cutting edge of the new system of creating wealth with the expectation that the crypto exchange will generate non-tax revenue for the treasury. The government’s parliament has already formed a task force to help review and adopt all the legal requirements in forming the crypto exchange.

Melford Nicholas, the country’s information technology minister, said the exchange will act as a facilitator to bring together cryptocurrency buyers and sellers for a fee.

“One of the persons who is involved at the forefront of this new cutting edge technology is Mr. Calvin Ayre, and he himself had earlier been appointed as an economic envoy,” Nicholas said. “He’s now a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda. We’re thinking that we can leverage both those relationships. By establishing an exchange here, it will bring Antigua into the game, as it were. Should there be any potential economic spin-offs, we should be in the front seat.”

Calvin Ayre is the founder of the Ayre Group and online gambling company Bodog. In January of this year, he claimed he had dedicated significant amounts of his investment funds towards creating a Bitcoin Cash mining operation in order to help build the BCH hashrate.

Last month, Ayre announced his plan to build a $100 million resort at Valley Church beach, Antigua, with profits from his cryptocurrency undertakings.

Ayre pleaded guilty last July to a misdemeanor charge in US federal court, resolving a five-year criminal case in which federal prosecutors pursued felony charges against Ayre and the company he founded, Bodog Entertainment Group.

Ayre admitted to being an accessory after the fact charge related to the transmission of gambling information in violation of the federal Wire Act. Federal prosecutors dropped the felony charges they had filed against Ayre, Bodog and three other Canadian men. Judge Catherine Blake sentenced Ayre to one year of unsupervised probation and a $500,000 fine.

His lawyer, Barry Boss, said in a statement that Ayre “is pleased with the outcome of this case. He is even more pleased that this five-year ordeal is finally over for him and for the others who were charged. He looks forward to moving forward with his life.”

Last year, the government of Antigua and Barbuda said it was drafting laws “for the implementation of bitcoin.” The move was reportedly influenced by the self-proclaimed “bitcoin creator” Craig Wright and Ayre, who also serves as the government’s cryptocurrency adviser.

“I see a growing convergence of bitcoin, online gaming, virtual reality and gamification technologies, and progressive countries like Antigua are poised to take advantage of this convergence by developing a truly global services industry,” Ayre said at the time.