Marshall Islands Preparing a Cryptocurrency, Two Officials Say

  • Digital coin called the Sovereign may be available this year
  • Move is ‘targeted for the long-term needs of the country’

Bitcoin: What’s Coming in the Year Ahead

The Republic of the Marshall Islands plans to release its own cryptocurrency to serve as an official legal tender, according to two government officials.

Members of parliament voted this week to proceed with the plan, Kenneth Kedi, a senator and the body’s speaker, said in a phone interview. A council still has several days to object, a move he said is unlikely.

The digital coin, to be known as the Sovereign, will probably be issued this year, David Paul, minister-in-assistance to the president, said in a phone interview. The government will arrange an initial coin offering and exchanges will be allowed to apply to trade the currency, he said. The move is seen as a way to bolster local budgets, he said.

“This was specifically targeted for the long-term needs of the country,” Paul said.

Roughly 70,000 people live in the Marshall Islands, a collection of more than 1,100 islands and islets in the Pacific. Some proceeds from the crypto offering will be used to provide health care to locals affected by U.S. nuclear tests conducted in the area decades ago, Paul said.

Several governments have sought to strengthen their finances with cryptocurrencies. This month Venezuela launched its own digital token, the Petro.

Read more: Venezuelans unable to buy Maduro’s cryptocurrency with bolivars

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