Digital Economic Zone Ignites New Frontiers of Blockchain Opportunity

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The Catawba Indian Nation, a Native American Tribe in South Carolina, is forging ahead with a new program to regulate and expand business activities within its territory.

In an unprecedented vote on Saturday, February 19, 2022, the Catawba General Council passed legislation to approve the establishment of a new digital special economic zone called the Green Earth Zone (GEZ).  As the first Digital Special Economic Zone in the United States, the GEZ is poised to become one of the most important jurisdictions for digital asset management, fintech, and cryptocurrencies worldwide.

This zone comprises financial regulatory and civil codes, including a Commercial Code that enables companies globally to domicile within the Tribe’s lands while operating under world-class business regulations. Through their online platform, the GEZ registered companies will operate under the Zone’s directives which are optimized to provide stability for digital companies in the fintech and Blockchain space.

In recent years, Fintech has become a booming industry, with over US$91.5 billion in global funding projected by the end of 2021. Driven by new technologies such as smart contracts, encryption, and digital signatures, regulators around the world have been challenged by the trends in cryptocurrency and decentralization. The uncertainty with regulations and the technological complexity involved with blockchain exposes investors and individuals who have sought to capitalize on the rapid growth in Bitcoin and non-fungible tokens.

Catawba Corporations is the business branch of The Catawba Indian Nation. The mission of Catawba Corporations is to be the corporation of choice that creates economic growth and diversity for the Catawba Indian Nation’s workforce and its brand, fueled by its core values and the nation’s rich culture and heritage, facilitated by the corporation’s philosophy to be the “employer, employee, and client for life corporation”.

Beginning three years ago under Catawba Corporations, the economic development arm of the Nation, the GEZ project’s success can be attributed to Native-American Tribes under US law having the ability to establish their own commercial code, regulation-making and administrative capabilities.  The GEZ represents the most advanced jurisdiction for digital services in the world.

“Special Economic Zones have been powerful instruments for economic development, enabling rapid economic growth. SEZs often rely on tax incentives. But with our status as a sovereign jurisdiction, we are also able to create a best-in-class regulatory climate for the digital, fintech, and blockchain sectors. Our plan is to allow these businesses to operate with certainty, and under regulations that protect consumers that help mature the industry. The GEZ will create tremendous economic opportunities for our people of the Catawba Nation”, explained Ronnie Beck, CEO of Catawba Corporations.

Using a model similar to Estonia’s eResidency, after completing the ‘know your customer' (KYC) requirements, anyone in the world will be able to set up an eCorporation online in the GEZ and enjoy policies and regulations that allow them to safely manage their digital assets, raise investment capital and offer digital-banking services.


eCorporations are legal corporations, permitted to conduct business virtually from the GEZ, and can open bank accounts within the United States. GEZ eCorporations are ideal for online companies, software developers, remote workers, banking and finance, insurance, and firms involved in the creation, sale, or management of digital assets.


The Zone is an important economic development project for the Catawba, one that is anticipated to bring millions of dollars to the tribal citizens, create numerous employment and education opportunities, and transform the lives of thousands of people.


"This is a progressive first step into the digital business world. We believe it will generate millions of dollars for the Nation and will enhance the quality of life for tribal citizens for decades to come," said Catawba Corporations board member and Catawba citizen, Thom Trimnal, "It will create economic opportunities that don’t currently exist, including jobs and workforce development."


With the legislation approved, the GEZ is anticipated to commence registration of eCorporations in March 2022.





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