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The Tiny Caribbean Island Cashing in on AI

Anguilla generates one-third of its government's revenue from AI without writing a single line of code. The surge in .ai domain sales was triggered by the arrival of ChatGPT in November 2022. Anguilla is earning around $3 million per month from .ai registrations, with predictions of doubling or more as domains come up for renewal.

The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) has brought immense wealth to many individuals and companies in recent years. However, one small Caribbean island has experienced a truly transformative impact. Anguilla, a tiny island in the Caribbean, is now generating a staggering one-third of its government's revenue from AI, without even writing a single line of code.


In the 1980s, when the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority was allocating two-letter domains, Anguilla was fortunate enough to be awarded the domain ".ai." Little did they know that this stroke of luck would turn into a financial windfall, with a significant increase in domain registrations over the past few years, greatly boosting the island's economy.


The surge in .ai domain sales was triggered by the arrival of ChatGPT in November 2022. Vince Cate, who manages domain registrations for the Anguillan government, revealed that "in the five months after that, our sales went up by almost a factor of four." This exponential growth has continued, stabilizing at a much higher level. Cate added, "It's just wild—we're already like a third of the government's budget."


Currently, the island is earning approximately $3 million per month from .ai registrations. However, Cate predicts that this figure will double or even more as domains come up for renewal. He explained, "We do the domains for two years, and so all of our money now is new domains. And if we just stay at this level of $3 million per month for new domains, when the renewals kick in a year from now, we'll just jump to $6 million per month."


For Anguilla, a British overseas territory with a population of around 16,000, this level of income is incredibly significant. It amounts to approximately $2,250 per person per year, even at the current rate of income. The island, which spans only 35 square miles, heavily relies on tourism, offshore banking, and fishing for its GDP, estimated at $300 million in 2020 by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. The AI windfall has the potential to bring in an additional $72 million by 2025 if domain registrations continue to grow as predicted by Cate.


While Anguilla is not the first island to benefit from its two-letter domain, there is a crucial difference in how they have managed their valuable domains compared to others. Unlike Tuvalu, which worked with commercial partners to license its .tv domain, Anguilla has taken matters into its own hands. Cate emphasized, "We're doing it locally, so the government is getting almost all the money. And that's not what was happening in Tuvalu, right? Most of the money was not going to the country."


The people of Anguilla are undoubtedly hoping that the AI boom does not turn out to be a short-lived bubble. With their innovative approach to managing the .ai domain and the potential for continued growth, this tiny Caribbean island is proving that it can make a fortune from AI.

 
  • Anguilla generates one-third of its government's revenue from AI without writing a single line of code.

  • The surge in .ai domain sales was triggered by the arrival of ChatGPT in November 2022.

  • Anguilla is earning around $3 million per month from .ai registrations, with predictions of doubling or more as domains come up for renewal.


Source: FORBES


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