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Calvin Ayre Appointed Antigua Economic Envoy

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Former Bodog head honcho Calvin Ayre has been selected as the Economic Envoy for Technology Development by the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda. This news was announced Aug. 9, 2017 in a press release by the Antiguan government.

Ayre's New Responsibilities

Calvin Ayre will be responsible for advising Antigua and Barbuda in its dealings with other states regarding the potential of blockchain technology and the effective implementation of new developments in this field. The blockchain is most prominently employed for recording and verifying transactions involving Bitcoin, the decentralized crypto-currency that's revolutionizing the payment processing industry. At the time of this writing, one bitcoin is worth approximately $3,390, representing an increase of 240 percent from its value of $998 at the beginning of 2017.

Twitter Profile of Calvin Ayre
Calvin Ayre, Entrepreneur, Founder of

Ayre, a resident of Antigua originally from Canada, had been under indictment in the United States since February 2012 for felony gambling charges stemming from his role at offshore gambling operator Bodog. The 56-year-old entrepreneur started the company in 2000, and it has grown to a net worth of more than $1 billion today. The charges against Ayre were dropped on Friday, July 14 of this year as part of a deal brokered by his lawyer and the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. It's probable that the resolution of this case was instrumental in clearing the way for Ayre to accept his new position.

Antigua's Plans Regarding Bitcoin

Antigua and Barbuda has been at the forefront of several high-tech industries for the past few decades, including international banking and internet real money gaming. The country hopes to similarly become a leading destination for blockchain applications by perhaps building upon its online gambling experiences. Bitcoin has become prevalent in remote online wagering because it enables the speedy movement of funds with low fees and a relatively high degree of anonymity coupled with freedom from restrictive banking regulations.

On April 28, 2017, the Antigua Observer reported that the cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda directed Attorney General Steadroy Benjamin to craft laws “for the implementation of Bitcoin.” It's not immediately evident what these laws will entail or their scope, but this decision is likely related to the work that Ayre will be doing in his new post.

Calvin Ayre's Work With Bitcoin

Calvin Ayre is known to be a supporter of Bitcoin and its role in the online gaming industry. He's an associate of computer scientist Craig Wright, an early Bitcoin adopter who, in May 2016, claimed to be Satoshi Nakomoto, the inventor of Bitcoin. Wright has not backed down from this claim although it is viewed with suspicion in some circles, and he has never produced undeniable evidence that he and Nakomoto are one and the same. On March 2, 2017, ran an article stating that the two men were partnering to file dozens of patents related to digital currency through Wright's company, ETIC Holdings. The firm has since been renamed nChain Holdings and acquired by SICAV, a Maltese private equity fund.

World Trade Organization Dispute

Antigua and Barbuda has been embroiled in a trade dispute with the United States for more than a decade regarding the latter's failure to open up its domestic markets to foreign competitors in the internet gaming space. The World Trade Organization ruled in favor of the island nation in 2004 and later estimated the negative impact on the Antiguan economy at $21 million annually. Negotiations and meetings between the two states have failed, and Antigua is investigating its remedies under international trade law, including the possible waiver of U.S. intellectual property protections.

Blockchain to the Rescue?

Upon the final settlement of Ayre's legal woes, the government of Antigua and Barbuda congratulated him and praised him for the philanthropic work he has achieved through the nonprofit Calvin Ayre Foundation. Now that Ayre and the government have announced their intentions to work together toward a common goal of deploying blockchain solutions, the dispute with the United States may fade into the background as cumbersome restrictions on the flow of gambling money become irrelevant.