Jurisdictions in Honduras, Portugal unveil Bitcoin adoption plans

Quick Take

  • An autonomous region in Portugal and a special economic zone in Honduras are pursuing bitcoin adoption, according to announcements made Thursday.
  • Jan3, a nation-state adoption startup founded by ex-Blockstream exec Samson Mow, has raised $21 million.  

Ex-Blockstream chief strategy officer Samson Mow brought three guests on stage at Bitcoin 2022 to give updates on bitcoin adoption plans in their various countries. However, no government official announced making bitcoin nationwide, legal tender at the conference like El Salvador's Nayib Bukele did last year.

Próspera, a Special Economic Zone in Honduras, sees crypto as legal 

While Honduras' central bank knocked down rumors about the country making bitcoin legal tender a few weeks ago, a jurisdiction called Próspera on the island of Roatán announced that it recognizes cryptocurrency as a legal currency in its own area.

Próspera, which refers to itself as an "enhanced Special Economic Zone" on its website, said in a press announcement that "[b]itcoin and other cryptocurrencies effectively operate as legal tender within its jurisdiction." In addition, Próspera says it will invite municipalities, governments and international firms to issue bitcoin bonds from its jurisdiction.

"Honduras Próspera Incorporated is the promoter and organizer of the Próspera jurisdiction on the Caribbean Island of Roatán in Honduras," Honduras Próspera Inc. president Joel Bomgar told the audience alongside Mow. "Bitcoin within Próspera operates as legal tender -- that means no capital gains tax on bitcoin, you can transact freely using bitcoin, and you can pay taxes and fees to the jurisdiction in bitcoin," he said. "You can also start a bitcoin business in the jurisdiction using the regulatory framework of your choice, and all done in an AML and KYC-compliant manner."

Bomgar added that accredited investors can also invest directly in Honduras Próspera Inc. through a security token convertible note offering, live on the Securitize platform. 

Bomgar is a Republican politician in the U.S., currently serving as a state representative in the Mississippi House of Representatives.

El Salvador was the first country to announce the adoption of bitcoin bonds, but the country has put the first issuance on hold due to international market conditions and other factors. It is unclear when that first bond would launch. 

Madeira, an autonomous region of Portugal, will focus on bitcoin adoption

The next show of support for bitcoin adoption was from Miguel Albuquerque, president of an autonomous region of Portugal called Madeira. Madeira comprises a group of islands northwest of Africa, known mainly for being a popular tourist destination.

 "I believe in the future and I believe in bitcoin," Albuquerque said, without specifically saying it would be legal tender there.

Albuquerque announced that Madeira bitcoin purchases and sales are not subject to income taxes, and pointed out that it offers a 5% tax rate for businesses. However, all of Portugal is currently free of income taxes on crypto purchases.

Mexican senator says she will propose crypto legislation 

Finally, Mow invited Mexican Senator Indira Kempis on stage to give an update on efforts to propose cryptocurrency legislation in that country. 

Kempis has previously mentioned she was planning to introduce a cryptocurrency law in Mexico this year inspired by El Salvador's, based on reports.

She again noted today that she would focus on a plan to make bitcoin legal tender. 

"In two months we will propose legislation to modify regulations in fintech and in monetary law. And we have a message for our president. We are looking forward to sitting down and having coffee with you to talk about this plan — bitcoin as legal tender in Mexico."

However, the likelihood of Mexico’s government warming up to a new crypto law anytime soon is unclear — especially if it would involve making a cryptocurrency like bitcoin legal tender.

Speaking during an October press conference, Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador downplayed the idea of making cryptocurrencies legal tender in response to a reporter’s question about whether it would follow El Salvador’s lead.

Meanwhile, Mexico’s presidential Twitter account tweeted on December 29 that it planned to have its own digital currency in place by 2024. 

Kempis also mentioned she has already been submitting bills to guarantee financial inclusion and education as a constitutional right in Mexico. 

Mow's new nation-state adoption-focused Jan3 raises $21 million 

Mow revealed on March 1 that he was leaving Blockstream after five years to "focus on nation-state bitcoin adoption," and announced during the conference that his new bitcoin company Jan3 has raised $21 million at a valuation of $100 million.

The company's mission is to "accelerate hyperbitcoinization," Mow said.

Jan3 is focused on Layer-2 technologies like the Lightning Network and Liquid Network, Mow explained. The company has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the government of El Salvador to build digital infrastructure. 

Catarina Moura contributed reporting. 


© 2022 The Block Crypto, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

Kristin Majcher is a senior correspondent at The Block, based in Colombia. She covers the Latin America market. Before joining, she worked as a freelancer with bylines in Fortune, Condé Nast Traveler and MIT Technology Review among other publications.

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