Anguilla: A small Caribbean island makes its fortune thanks to artificial intelligence | Technology

In 1988, the Internet number assignment authority distributed two-letter domains for each country. For Spain .es, to Mexico .mx, .uk for United Kingdom. Anguilla didn’t know it, but he was lucky enough to get the .ai. Nearly 40 years later, the rise of artificial intelligence has benefited this island, which has the domain that coincides with the English acronym for this technology. More and more companies, large and small, want to create specialized sites with AI and use its acronyms across the web, but they have to pay to do so. Anguilla’s good fortune has turned into fortune, as these investments now represent a third of government revenue in this small British territory located about 250 kilometers from Puerto Rico.

Blue sea beaches, white sand and coral reefs are the main attractions of this island which largely depends on tourism. It was like this until at the end of 2020 the first sign of new activity arrived: the first sale of the most expensive domain on the island, the portal, took place., in exchange for 95,000 euros. However, the real luck began on November 30, 2022, when ChatGPT launched and purchases of domains with the same ending skyrocketed. Just five months later, sales have almost quadrupled, Vince Cate, who manages records for the Anguilla government, told EL PAÍS. “We already represent around a third of the state budget,” he adds.

Each government manages the prices and duration of domains, explains Gonzalo de la Cruz, of Web specialists. In Spain, the cost of each .es varies from approximately one to 10 euros and is renewed every year. Anguilla won three million dollars last January (around 2,700,000 euros), but Cate estimates that this figure will double by the time of renewal. “We’ve been creating domains for two years, so all our money is now going into new domains,” he points out. “If we maintain this level of three million per month for new domains, when the renewals come into effect in a year, we will increase to six million per month.”

A few startups artificial intelligence that acquired pages with this domain is And Big companies like Google, Meta, and . In 2023, more than 200,000 registrations have been recorded.

In addition to tourism, income in Anguilla comes from the banking sector. off the coast and fishing. In 2020, its GDP was estimated at more than 275 million euros due to United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, long before the start of the rise of artificial intelligence. For this small territory with a population of around 16,000 inhabitants, the level of income generated by the sale of estates is very significant. If enrollments continue to rise, Cate predicts, they could reach as many as 72 million by 2025.

Invest in .ai domains

Before it became fashionable and long before ChatGPT came along, there was already a pioneer in page acquisition with .ai. Igor Gabrielan has been a fan of artificial intelligence and robots since he was little, but it wasn’t until 2011, when registration for foreigners was opened, that he started buying domains with . ai and now has 750 pages for sale. However, this did not yield the expected results. “Despite the large amount of jewelry in my portfolio, large companies have not contacted me,” Gabrielan tells EL PAÍS. His biggest sale netted him $50,000 in exchange for

Only one domain in Spanish appears in the Gabrielian catalog: “I haven’t heard of big estates in Spanish,” he says. The domain with the Spanish artificial intelligence acronym .ia is not assigned to any country.

The most popular domain extensions

The Anguilla case is not the first. In 1994, Chris Clark bought the estate for 20 dollars and in 2008 he sold it for 2.6 million. In 2000, Tuvalu, a small Polynesian country in the South Pacific, sold another of the most popular and coveted domains for $50 million because of its connection to television networks: .tv. A particular story is that of .amazon, since the eight countries of the Amazon basin demanded control of the domain. However, ICANN granted this coveted .amazon to the multinational Internet sales company of the same name led by Jeff Bezos.

Cate compares the case of television with that of her own island, although she highlights the nuances. Tuvalu has a long history of working with commercial partners for .tv domain licensing, while Anguilla handles registrations itself. “We do it locally, so the government gets almost all the money.” For his part, investor Gabrielan is convinced that the trend of growth in artificial intelligence will continue, as well as the purchase of the coveted .ai.

  1. .COM Initially, the .com extension was intended for businesses. This changed in the 1990s. Now anyone can register a .com domain without being geographically tied to a specific area.
  2. .CN China’s size is not surprising given its territorial and demographic size and rapid economic growth.
  3. .OF It stands for Deutschland and is the domain extension for Germany. This is the first national extension to exceed one million registrations.
  4. .NET As it means “network”, it was initially intended for organizations related to network technologies. It is one of the first classic expansions, introduced in 1985.
  5. .UNITED KINGDOM This is the UK extension, launched in 1985 and currently used by businesses, charities and individuals.
  6. .ORG It stands for organization and is one of the classic domain extensions and was introduced in 1985. It was intended for non-commercial organizations with international users, it is now used by charities, healthcare providers and foundations cultural, among others.

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