Last Updated: 7 July 2022
Earlier this week, an article appeared in The Guardian, pouring a mountain of criticism on the bitcoin-friendly Honduran town of Próspera. The Guardian describes Próspera as a bitcoin-friendly tax haven with luxurious homes for which locals are being taken advantage of.
Locals are worried
Some residents of neighbouring Crawfish Rock are worried about possibly being evicted from their homes because of Próspera’s expansion plans. The Guardian article describes the headquarters as part of “a landscape damaged by a bulldozer and littered with deep holes for the foundations of the next phase of construction.”
It is another attack on the Honduran bitcoin city that previously saw its Zones for Employment and Economic Development (ZEDEs) revoked by the government. Indeed, this piece of legislation was crucial for Próspera to operate as an independent zone within Honduras.
Learn the truth about Prospera ZEDE & unplug from the propaganda. https://t.co/juiRMHgBum @usembassyhn @GobiernoHN @ProsperaGlobal @SenTedCruz @chiproytx @marcorubio @RyanBergPhD @exjon @RepMarkGreen @SenatorRisch @kyrstensinema @timkaine @USDOJ_Intl @USSOCOM @VP @SenBillCassidy
— Nick Dranias (@NickDranias) July 6, 2022
Próspera’s general counsel or chief legal officer, Nick Dranias, claims that the articles like the one in The Guarden are an example of a stream of lies and misinformation from the mainstream media. In an article on Twitter, he shares “the truth” about Próspera.
A representative of Próspera says that the relationship with the local community is actually good. “We have a fantastic relationship with the local community and are the largest employer in the region. There are only two community members who do not like us, and the media only speak to those two,” the representative said.
The conflict with the government
Próspera has been at odds with the Honduran government since the ZEDE law was repealed by President Castro in April. After the law was repealed, the project had 12 months to register itself in another form. But Próspera has no appetite for this.
Therefore, in early June, Próspera submitted a request to continue retaining their ZEDE status as agreed in 2017. According to Próspera, on this basis, it has a valid ZEDE status for at least another 50 years.
In a blog post dated 4 June, Próspera writes that Honduras’ failure to comply with the agreement results in a violation of international and Honduran law. It would also send a message that no foreign investment is safe in Honduras.
The company says it hopes international arbitration can be avoided and that the government will decide to abide by the ZEDE agreement. Próspera is planning to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in the country in the coming years.