Following the collapse of crypto exchange FTX, which was headquartered in the island nation of Bahamas, Bahamians are reportedly still trying to find a way to make sense of everything, while remaining optimistic about the future.
According to a report by the WSJ, the island nation — which encouraged cryptocurrency companies to feel at home with their “copacetic regulatory touch” — has been rocked by the implosion of FTX.
The Bahamas, which was also hard hit by hurricane Dorian in 2019 and the pandemic shortly afterward in 2020, was already struggling to find ways to strengthen its economy which relies heavily on tourism and offshore banking for a bulk of its GDP. It appeared that the prime minister of the Bahamas, Philip Davis, and his government believed crypto could play a critical role in the island’s economic recovery.
Now, the community suggests that FTX’s sudden implosion has left a trail of unemployment on the tiny 80-square-mile island. While functioning at full capacity, FTX provided employment for locals, as it reportedly spent over “$100,000 a week on catering” and also set up a private shuttle service to transport workers around the island. FTX also hired a number of local Bahamians in areas such as logistics, events planning, and regulatory compliance, according to the WSJ.
With the collapse of FTX, many high-spending foreigners who worked for the company and once boosted the local economy have reportedly fled the island, leaving Bahamanian security guards to now guard “nearly vacant buildings."
In the aftermath of the fall of FTX, some crypto community members have said they feel no sympathy for the effects of the collapse of FTX on the tiny island nation.
A contributor on the Hacker news with the username matkoniecz commented; “Given that Bahamas help rich people and companies to evade taxes, my sympathy to negative consequences of that are limited.”
Another user going by the handle Exendroinient00 shared, “Nothing wrong with inviting every scammer to do scamming on your islands,” in reference to the island's laws, which seem to incentivize offshore banking activities on its island.
On Oct. 18, Cointelegraph reported that the Bahamian securities regulator ordered the transfer of FTX’s digital assets to a wallet owned by the commission “for safekeeping.”
According to a statement by the Royal Bahamas Police Force sent to Reuters on Nov 13, an investigation of possible criminal misconduct over the insolvency of FTX is underway by financial investigators and the Bahamas securities regulators.