President Hilda Heine of the Marshall Islands has survived a vote of no confidence on Monday, after her plans to introduce a state-backed cryptocurrency were met with harsh criticism.According to reports, Heine narrowly survived after a split decision was reached. The parliament was equally divided on her fate, with both 16 votes for and against — only one vote short to force resignation.
In 2016, Heine was elected as the first female president of the Marshall Islands — a small country with a population under 60,000. Heine took up the post after the previous president, Casten Nemra, was ejected from the position after losing a vote of no confidence. In Heine’s case, the vote was initially prompted after eight senators accused the president of damaging the island’s reputation. Now, President Hilda Heine is set to move forward with the country’s plans for a national cryptocurrency, called the ‘Sovereign (SOV),’ which will be used alongside the U.S. dollar as legal tender. The move was initially announced in February, as President Heine said that her country must “advance into the future” as she looks to position the Marshall Islands at the forefront of the industry — while also allowing the country to move towards self-sufficiency. The government of the Marshall Islands hopes to raise investments by selling half of the Sovereign total supply to foreign investors while retaining the remaining 50 percent for either storage in a government fund or distribution to citizens of the Marshall Islands. In September, The International Monetary Fund (IMF) was quoted as saying the potential gains associated with Sovereign are massively outweighed by the risks. It also warned that the country may find itself struggling with money-laundering, cyber attacks, and potentially losing its USD corresponding banking relationship. As of yet, it is unknown when the Sovereign ICO is due to launch but is currently expected to take at least several years. The IMF also fired a shot at Neema, the Israeli startup tasked with creating the cryptocurrency — arguing that it has “limited financial sector experience.” Do you think state-backed cryptocurrencies are an inevitability? Which country do you think would benefit the most from digitizing their national currency, or replacing it altogether? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine has survived a vote of no confidence https://t.co/5whtw4VJkn pic.twitter.com/9GLUGMwFtM— RNZ Pacific (@RNZPacific) November 12, 2018
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