The AI ​​boom is making millions for an unlikely player in the sector: Anguilla

Emma Bubola

The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into everyday life has raised doubts and troubling questions among many about humanity’s path forward. But in Anguilla, a small Caribbean island east of Puerto Rico, the AI ​​boom has made the country a fortune.

The British territory collects a fee for each registration for internet addresses ending in ‘.ai’, which happens to be the domain name assigned to the island, such as ‘.fr’ for France and ‘.jp’ for Japan. As companies want Internet addresses that communicate, they are at the forefront of the AI ​​boom – such as Elon Musk’s website for his artificial intelligence company – Anguilla has recently received a huge influx of domain name requests.

For every domain registration, Anguilla’s government gets between $140 and thousands of dollars from website names sold at auctions, according to government data. Last year, the government earned about $32 million from these fees. That amounted to more than 10 percent of the gross domestic product for the territory of almost 16,000 people and 35 square kilometers. “Some people call it a stroke of luck,” Anguilla Prime Minister Ellis Webster said. “We just call it God smiling down on us.”

Anguilla’s control over .ai dates back to the early days of the internet, when nations and territories were allocated their slice of cyberspace.

Officials don’t know how long the boon will last, but they predicted 2024 would bring in similar domain name revenues as last year.

©2024 The New York Times News Service

First print: March 24, 2024 | 11:56 PM IST