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Tuvalu’s digital ambitions

Tuvalu has become the first country in the world to choose Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV) blockchain to help it migrate to a fully digital economy, a move that may see it also adopt Bitcoin SV, the cryptocurrency associated with the BSV blockchain.

The ambitious undertaking, still in very early stages, is expected to digitise all aspects of life in the Polynesian atoll nation, whose population of 11,646 (2019 Census) is concentrated on the main island Funafuti.

“The primary aim of the project is to develop a Tuvalu National Digital Ledger to transform the processes of managing the Tuvalu government and economy in a package designed to suit the unique culture, geography, and society that all Tuvaluans share,” said Simon Kofe, Minister for Justice, Communication and Foreign Affairs for Tuvalu, in an email interview with Islands Business.

“The project will enable a complete transfer from the current existing paper-based records and cash system to a fully digital management and cash system. The scalability of the BSV network means Tuvalu can implement relevant technology rapidly, while allowing for organic growth and development over time. Instead of focusing on just the cryptocurrency aspect, we are focusing on using the actual technology for day-to-day transactions – whether big or small. The value of Bitcoin (BSV) is in its micropayments,” Kofe said.

Not to be confused with Bitcoin, which is worth around US$50,000 per coin (February 2021), Bitcoin SV was created in 2018 via a historic event called a “hard fork”.

 

This breakaway faction was led by Australian computer scientist Craig Wright, a well-known blockchain pioneer who is among the many people who claim to be ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’, the Bitcoin creator whose true identity and whereabouts have never been revealed.

Wright is now chief scientist at nChain, a company he founded to promote Bitcoin SV.

nChain is the Tuvalu Government’s major partner in its National Digital Public Ledger project, with support also from Bitcoin consultancy Elas Digital and community tech-consultancy company Faia, whose owner George Siosi Samuels is of Tuvaluan descent and through who the ambitious plan was formed.

According to Kofe, Tuvalu has yet to decide on whether its choice of the BSV blockchain will also mean it will adopt the BSV cryptocurrency to add to its national currencies, the Tuvalu and Australian dollars.

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