UPDATED | March 1, 2018:
ETHNews has received a response from CNET Antigua regarding our inquiries; that update has been appended at the end of this article.
ORIGINAL | February 28, 2018:
The government of Antigua and Barbuda has signed off on a plan to let CNET Antigua, a private sector consortium of development and renewable energy players, conduct an ICO that aims to support development efforts in the Caribbean nation. The move was publicized in a February 28 press release.
The so-called "ICO for Development" (ICOD) will see the organization selling the Antigua & Barbuda Development Coin (ADC) to fund a variety of public-private and charity-run projects. These include a solar power plant with battery storage, a hydroponic agriculture operation, a large-scale farm, a microfinance program, and a Seventh Day Adventist-run orphanage/halfway house for battered women. Among other things, the projects are intended to reduce reliance on produce imports and increase the volume of foodstuffs exported.
Investors in the ICO will receive half of the net income generated by the projects that the token offering funds. It will be transmitted to them in the form of Ether (which is also the only type of payment that will be accepted during the ICO) on a monthly basis via a smart contract, or EDCC. By press time, CNET Antigua had not responded to an ETHNews inquiry asking if these proceeds would continue flowing to investors who sell their tokens or whether the parties who buy these tokens from the investors would receive the revenue instead. It is also unclear if the proceeds would be paid out indefinitely or last for a predetermined amount of time.
There will be a cap on the total number of ADC that can be minted, and a token allocation scheme has already been devised: five percent of the coins will be made available in a presale, 55 percent will be sold during the ICO, seven percent will be reserved for the "Antigua and Barbuda ICO for Development founding team," and the rest will be put to other purposes. If the ICO does not net $100,000 in sales, the Ether collected will be returned to investors.
A second ICO will be held at a later date to fund other projects on Barbuda, which was recently devastated by Hurricane Irma and evacuated in the storm's wake.
A prospectus on the project refers to "ewallets … via Metamask or MyEtherWallet" while the ICOD whitepaper describes an "Antigua eWallet" through which investors can buy and sell the token. According to the whitepaper, this Antigua wallet will "allow the citizens of Antigua and Barbuda to use the ADC in their daily lives. It will administer the Micro Credit Program for the Islands."
ETHNews asked CNET Antigua whether these tokens will, therefore, be considered a legal means of payment or a state-issued cryptocurrency in the nation, and whether there are plans to encourage other players in the local economy to adopt the token so that microcredit recipients can spend the digital assets they receive. We will update this article if and when we receive a response.
The whitepaper also relates that the ADC will take the form of an Ethereum-based ERC23-compatible token. (Github indicates that the ERC23 token, which is a superset of the better-known ERC20 token, was renamed ERC223 in October 2017.)
Shortly after Hurricane Irma, Antigua and Barbuda signed an agreement with the United Arab Emirates for the installation of a solar energy plant on Barbuda, ostensibly funded by the UAE.
In mid-February, it emerged that Montserrat is looking into the possibility of creating a digital equivalent of the Eastern Caribbean dollar, which the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank issues on behalf of eight island economies including Antigua and Barbuda. With the bank's approval, the proposed Digital Eastern Caribbean dollar could become "legal tender."
Also, on February 27, it was revealed that the Republic of the Marshall Islands is planning to issue an official state cryptocurrency of its own, the Sovereign.
UPDATED | March 1, 2018:
ETHNews has received a reply to several of its queries from Clarence Hill, CNET Antigua's Vice President, CFO and director of development, transportation, and education. Dr. Hill's responses have been edited for brevity and clarity:
ETHNews: Following the ICO, if I buy an ADC from an investor, will I receive the ether representing their ongoing share of net income, or will they?
CH: We have the dividend system designed so that the owner of the ADC receives the Ether that is the ongoing share of the net income.
ETHNews: How will the ETH for these dispersals be acquired if the projects will take in fiat currency? Will you be paying investors out of the ETH collected in the ICO?
CH: The ETH will be acquired from the fiat currency CNET Antigua is paid for the solar power and produce. The fiat currency will then be used to purchase ETH to pay dividends.
ETHNews: Considering that, as the whitepaper says, "The Antigua eWallet will allow … the citizens of Antigua and Barbuda to use the ADC in their daily lives," does this mean the ADC will be considered legal tender in A&B? If so, does it amount to a state-issued cryptocurrency?
CH: The ADC is state-supported, not state-issued. The ADC will be carried in the Antigua eWallet along with 25 other fiat currencies and crypto currencies such as Bitcoin and Ether.
ETHNews: Are there concerns that announcing two different ICOs will reduce investor enthusiasm?
CH: We will only do one ICO at one time.
ETHNews: If someone receives a small loan in the form of ADC, will the retailers from whom they need to buy materials be accepting ADC as a form of payment?
CH: The first use for the microcredit will be loans to farmers to plant more crops. The farmers will be joining the eWallet early adopters … The farmer can:
- Transfer the money for the organic fertilizer/organic pesticide/organic seed to the seed retailer if the retailer is on the eWallet.
- Move the money to the Visa debit card associated with the eWallet and pay the retailer if they are not an eWallet holder.
- Wire the money to the retailer.
[When the] farmer is paid for his crops, [the] buyer transfers the money to the farmer's eWallet account, [then the] farmer pays off his loan in the eWallet.
ETHNews: In terms of the ongoing share of net income that ADC holders receive, will this income be paid out indefinitely, or is there a time after which it will cease to be paid out?
CH: The ongoing share of the net income will be paid to the ADC holder as long as CNET and the projects exist. The investors purchased shares in a corporation and deserve to be treated as shareholders.