Puerto Rico Financial Institutions Commissioner to speak at Blockchain Unbound Conference
SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico Financial Institutions Commissioner George Joyner will be one of the speakers Thursday at the Blockchain Unbound Conference, an event that features entrepreneurs and investors from the blockchain and cryptocurrency sectors.
The three-day event, which began Wednesday, focuses on how digital ledger technology can transform the Puerto Rican economy despite the impact of devastating hurricanes. More than 45 experts are slated to discuss emerging trends such as profitable trading strategies, new blockchain and crypto technologies, regulatory issues, and coin-offering strategies.
According to the event’s organizers profits from the event will be donated to charities helping Puerto Rico recover from hurricanes Irma and Maria.
The conference comes amid stateside reporting about cryptocurrency millionaires moving to Puerto Rico to create a city that will operate with blockchain technology for transactions and its own cryptocurrency.
Joyner, who is an advocate of blockchain technology, is more cautious about virtual currencies. He recently told Caribbean Business that besides being volatile in terms of their value, virtual currencies have little use in Puerto Rico because few businesses currently accept them. “It’s not like you can go to the supermarket and use them,” he said.
Ginoris López Lay, executive vice president and director of Strategic Management and Retail Banking for FirstBank, said cryptocurrencies are still an uncertain area and, just as with the cannabis industry, banks must wait for determinations made by their regulators.
In Puerto Rico, coops are where medical cannabis entrepreneurs turn to. Commercial banks do not allow such accounts because cannabis is illegal under federal law. Using the analogy, local commercial banks do not carry out transactions with cryptocurrencies.
“The regulators are the ones that are going to determine whether this will be accepted or not,” she said. “We are educating ourselves and waiting to see if there is an opportunity we can capture. But it is still an unregulated market,” López Lay explained.
Adding that she sees the appeal of cryptocurrencies because the value of regular currencies is often affected by politics, such as the Bolivar in Venezuela, while crypto coins are not, representing an added value.