March 25, 2022 | Oscar van Dam and John Samson
PHILIPSBURG – The news that Sint Maarten MP Rolando Brison wants to receive his salary in cryptocurrencies has raised questions among financial experts. “As a member of parliament, you corner the government into paying you illegally,” said Willem-Jan Paardekooper of Kaat Asset Management in Curaçao.
Rolando Brison is leader of the UP Party coalition party. The deputy announced this week that he has asked Treasury Secretary Ardwell Irion for his salary in cryptocurrency. bitcoin cash to turn off. He thinks it is ‘innovative, easy and fast growing’.
Today I become the first elected official in the world to be paid his full salary in #bitcoincash, as our country moves more and more towards the use of cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Thanks @rogerkver For the guidance to make St Maarten the Crypto Capital of the Caribbean!
— Rolandobrison (@MPBrison) March 19, 2022
Cryptocurrencies are not an official means of payment
According to Willem-Jan Paardekooper, it should not be overlooked that cryptocurrencies are not an official means of payment. “I doubt that is a good step. There is no legislation. We have all agreed that a value will be assigned to it, but that is something different from an official means of payment”.
‘Soon someone will be able to ask to be paid in goats’
“Just to put it in perspective: someone can immediately ask to be paid in goats. Centuries ago in the Netherlands, tulip bulbs were used to pay. That turned out to be too dangerous.” According to Paardekoper, the Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten previously announced that they are closely following the development of the cryptocurrency. But that is different from using it as an official means of payment.”
‘Saint Maarten crypto capital of the Caribbean’
The politician says that he has been following the developments around cryptocurrencies for several years. He wants Saint Martin to do everything in his power to become the ‘Crypto Capital’ of the Caribbean. In several places on the island you can already pay with cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin cash. “I can pay for all my purchases, rent, and even my car costs through Bitcoin Cash.”
What is striking about the case is that Brison made his request known to the minister with a video in which he speaks with representatives of bitcoin cash. Then a representative sent emails this week to the media that do not clearly distinguish between ‘bitcoins’ and ‘bitcoin cash’.
Cryptocurrencies: a risky investment?
The three largest cryptocurrencies are Bitcoin, Ethereum and Tether. Bitcoin Cash is in place 26. The value of cryptocurrencies can fluctuate, making them a risky investment, financial experts warn. The higher the demand for a particular cryptocurrency, the more its value increases. But the value has already dropped sharply several times during the market turmoil.
Brison points out that the value of the dollar also fluctuates. “In Sint Maarten, we are virtually ‘dollarized’, so we are at the mercy of dollar volatility.” But the value of cryptocurrencies fluctuates considerably more than the dollar.
For example, anyone who bought €1,500 worth of bitcoins in 2017 saw a year later that they were worth €7,000. Last year, bitcoin stood at 58,000 euros, its peak. Those who had bought then saw in January that the investment was only worth 31,000 euros. This week, a bitcoin is around 41,000 euros.
Facing critics who warn to be careful, there are several crypto experts and fans who are convinced that the value of certain coins will skyrocket in the coming years.
Some videos are also circulating in the media in which Brison himself talks about his reason for wanting to receive his salary in bitcoin cash. According to some, this gives the impression that Brison also took the step for business reasons. “I am open to all other cryptocurrencies,” said Brison.
‘Athletes in the United States also receive a salary in crypto’
According to Paardekooper, the Sint Maarten politician is not the first person who wants to be paid in digital currency. “There are already athletes in the United States who receive their salary like this. In that sense, it can be said that it is an innovative step. He probably has a political intention with this, in the sense that Sint Maarten could play a pioneering role in the use of cryptocurrencies. All of this is not illogical.”
‘Curaçao is also interested’
“This has more to do with the Caribbean’s need for greater financial freedom in a cumbersome banking sector controlled primarily by former settlers,” said Brison. According to Brison, there are also MPs in Curaçao who are interested in cryptocurrencies as a means of payment.
How do cryptocurrencies like bitcoin work?