"An official emergency has been declared, which means in the tax program, your physical presence time is suspended," cryptocurrency investor Hayden Bowles says in a video posted to TikTok this week.
"So I am headed out of the island."
The post was met with a fierce backlash from Puerto Rican commenters, many of whom felt it epitomized the crypto community's extractive relationship with the island, Time reports.
Puerto Rico has received a flood of crypto entrepreneurs, investors, and influencers who have sought to take advantage of the island's tax benefits.
While these transplants argue they are bringing jobs and capital to the island, local organizers say they are driving up housing prices, privatizing beaches, erasing culture, and destroying communities.
Dean Huertas, a content creator, and activist responded to Bowles' video with a viral TikTok that called out tax beneficiaries who chose to leave the island.
"People come here to exploit and displace the local population while having the benefit of leaving whenever they please," Huertas tells Time.
Local organizers say promises that crypto leaders made about hurricane preparedness and relief years ago have not been kept; that many newcomers have simply left the island in its time of need; and that new crypto fundraisers have been started without community input. Read the Entire Article