'Bitcoin Isle' might be next on Jersey's docket

The self-regulated island in the English Channel wants to be a leader in accepting Bitcoin.

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Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency that has caused its fair share of headaches and riches for people across the globe, might soon have a friendly place to call home.

The Bailiwick of Jersey, an island just off the coast of Normandy, France, wants to become a leader in promoting a Bitcoin economy, Treasury Minister Senator Philip Ozouf told BBC in an report published on Monday.

Jersey, a British Crown dependency with its own self-regulating parliamentary democracy, has established its own organization, called bit.coin.je, designed to promote the idea of welcoming the digital currency to its shores.

The digital currency, which has its own economy and is trading at approximately $585 per bitcoin as of this writing, is slowly gaining mainstream acceptance. It's being accepted at more shops and bars, and Bitcoin ATMs continue to pop up around the world. Earlier in June, travel booking site Expedia began accepting Bitcoin, and just last week, Apple gave its "stamp of approval" to Bitcoin, allowing virtual-currency focused apps to return to its App Store.

Despite these gains, Bitcoin still has its fair share of detractors. The currency was flying high last year until the Japan-based Mt. Gox exchange was hacked and hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Bitcoins were lost. Bitcoin is designed not to be traced -- making it the currency of choice for the now defunct online drug market Silk Road. The lack of regulation, as well as its potential use for money laundering and other illegal activities, has spurred some US lawmakers call for a ban on Bitcoin.

Governments around the world are trying to figure out how they should work the digital currency. The Chinese government allows consumers to trade in Bitcoin, but banks are banned from the practice.

Jersey sees itself in a different light, according to the BBC. The area wants to become "Bitcoin Isle," and it's inching closer to allowing Bitcoin transactions at national banks. Lawmakers in Jersey see a not-so-distant future in which employees will get paid in Bitcoins, Robbie Andrews with bit.coin.je told the BBC, and transactions across the country will include Bitcoin.

Jersey believes that investing in Bitcoin could help it become an economic powerhouse. Since so many countries around the world are dragging their feet on the currency, Jersey wants to welcome Bitcoin with open arms and attract both businesses and consumers.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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