This article develops a sociolegal analysis of the legislation and tax policies implemented by the US and Puerto Rico (PR) governments to incentivize venture capitalists and cryptocurrency investors to relocate to PR. Specifically, the article looks at the role that Act 60 of 2019 played in attracting blockchain proponents and cryptocurrency investors to PR. By analyzing this tax policy and the governmental official discourses, this article demonstrates that the blockchain and cryptocurrency sectors have contributed to the transformation of PR into an offshore financial center or tax haven. Furthermore, the article shows how grassroot movements, among them Abolish Act 60, have organized against this transformation. Thus, the article demonstrates how the slogan “The Paradise Performs” is largely embedded in legal practices, tax evasion, and fraud.
The Paradise Performs: Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies, and the Puerto Rican Tax Haven
Jose Atiles is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research and publications focus primarily on the sociolegal and criminological implications of US colonialism in Puerto Rico. Currently, he is working on his book manuscript, “Law in/as Crisis: Emergency Powers, Corruption, and Resistance in Puerto Rico.” The book analyzes the role of law, the state of emergency, and anticorruption mobilizations in the current multilayered crisis of Puerto Rico: economic instability and insurmountable debt since 2006, devastation generated by hurricanes Irma and María in 2017, a swarm of earthquakes in January of 2020, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jose Atiles; The Paradise Performs: Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies, and the Puerto Rican Tax Haven. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 July 2022; 121 (3): 612–627. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-9826032
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