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How The Shape Of This Tiny Island Made It Rich Off AI

Welcome to this week’s Deep-fried Dive with Fry Guy! In these long-form articles, Fry Guy conducts an in-depth analysis of a cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) development or developer. Today, Fry Guy is exploring how a tiny island in the Caribbean Sea has gotten filthy rich off AI. We hope you enjoy!

*Notice: We do not gain any monetary compensation from the people and projects we feature in the Sunday Deep-fried Dives with Fry Guy. We explore these projects and developers solely for the purpose of revealing to you interesting and cutting-edge AI projects, developers, and uses.*


(The mystery link can lead to ANYTHING AI related. Tools, memes, and more…)

What if I told you an island with only six traffic lights (which often don’t even work) has made over $30 million and counting off AI?

It’s true. Anguilla, an island in the Caribbean Sea that’s 52 times smaller than the Island of Maui in Hawaii is making a fortune off AI. The weirdest part? They haven’t developed any revolutionary technology! Let’s explore how this happened.


Anguilla, a British territory, is tiny spec of an island in the Eastern Caribbean seas. Anguilla, which means “eel” in Latin, got its name based on it’s shape, which resembles the thin little water critter. Unless you know where it’s located, you will miss it on the map—it requires maximum zoom on Google Maps to even become visible! In fact, the island itself is only 16 miles long, and has a population of merely 15,753.

The island is so small that it’s hard to travel to. It doesn’t have a major cruise port for large ships, so ships from the likes of Royal Caribbean, Carnival, or Princess can’t stop there. On top of that, it doesn’t have an airport that can handle large commercial passenger planes. The most effective way to get there is via a 12 mile ferry ride from the island of St. Martin, which lies south. Nonetheless, the island is beautiful and exclusive, which is why celebrities like Jay-Z, Beyonce, and Leonardo DiCaprio like to travel there for private vacations. In fact, the Travel Channel stated that Anguilla is “the best country to find the world’s all-around best beaches.”

So what is so special about this small island, and how is it rolling in the money? The answer lies in two little letters: AI.


Anguilla is not known for being a technology hub. In fact, it’s more known for its relaxing beaches and its plethora of goats which roam around freely. Spending days sipping margaritas with your feet in the sand doesn’t exactly scream technological innovation. This story changed in 1994.

A computer scientist named Vince Cate moved from the United States to Anguilla to get away from all the hustle and bustle. When he arrived on this remote island, he ended up building a small Internet Service Provider (ISP) company to help give internet access to the residents of Anguilla. One day while relaxing on the island (and probably while drinking some Rum Runners on the beach and petting a stray goat) a simple question popped into his head: “What if I owned a domain name that ended with .ai?”

At the time, such a domain did not exist. Cate did some extensive research and discovered something pretty interesting about how domain extensions like .ai work. He learned that the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) was the regulatory body in charge of “top-level domains” (the letters at the end of URLs) like .com, .org, and .ai.

Upon some more digging, Cate discovered that there was another kind of top-level domain called a “Country Code Top-Level Domain” or a ccTLD. Those domain extensions were assigned to countries throughout the world based on the country’s unique alphanumeric code. So for instance, the United States (US) was the first to be granted this type of top-level domain with the .us extension, and countries like, Canada (CA) with the .ca extension and the United Kingdom (UK) with the .uk extension followed suit. What is Anguilla’s code? You guessed it: AI. Good thing the island is shaped like an eel!

When Cate discovered all of this, he contacted Jon Postel, who at the time was one of the the main decision makers at the IANA. In their conversation, Postel told Cate, “There’s no one running .ai, do you want to run .ai?” And Cate simply responded, “Okay.” That short exchange changed everything.

This exchange came at a time when no one really cared about these domain extensions. So even though, in hindsight, this seems like a big deal, handing over the entire .ai namespace was relatively routine for the IANA. It was more important for someone to run the extension, like Cate did, than for the extension to stay dormant. From that point on, anyone who wanted a .ai domain name extension would have to go through Cate personally. The interesting part of this, however, is that Postel, who was one of the leaders of the IANA, granted authority to Cate to control the .ai extension even though he was not part of the Anguilla government—he simply lived there.

Luckily for Anguilla, Cate eventually forfeited his authority over the .ai domain name to the Anguillan government, where it rightfully belonged. But the story of who controlled the .ai extension doesn’t end here. At that point, some shady company in Taiwan convinced the Anguilla government to give them control of the .ai extension. This company wanted the extension because “ai” means “love” in Chinese, and they wanted to market it as such. But, long story short, that didn’t quite work out, as the company faded away, and the .ai domain extension was returned to the hands of the Anguilla government.


Fast forward to Nov 30th, 2022 … the day OpenAI’s ChatGPT was first released to the public. From this day forward, interest in AI exploded exponentially. Everyone and their mother, from big companies to single, small tool creators began flocking to buy .ai domain name extensions. In fact, some investors were spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to secure customized .ai names, tailored to their products or companies. Some notable domains that sold for big money include You.ai, which sold for $700,000, Stack.ai, which sold for $258,000, and Npc.ai, which sold for $250,000. Some bigger companies reportedly spent millions on more general domains.

What did this AI explosion mean for Anguilla? It meant cold hard cash was flowing into the country like never before! For every .ai domain name sold on sites like GoDaddy or NameCheap.com, a payment goes directly to the Anguilla government. At the current rate, Anguilla gets $140-$200 for each 2-year domain name purchase. So every time “Mr. Jonnny Startup” has a brilliant idea for a new AI business venture and registers a domain name for it, Anguilla makes $140-$200. As of now, there are over 287,000 registered .ai sites, which has doubled over the past year.

In 2023 alone, the country of Anguilla made over $30 million off sales of .ai domain names. And that is forecasted to double to $60 million in the coming years, especially as domain name renewals begin to kick in. The best part? This required no innovative work or technological advancements on the part of the country—it is merely because of their name!

It’s worth noting that while $30 million or even $60 million might not seem like a lot of money for an entire country, when one considers that Anguilla only has a little over 15,000 residents (and goats), that money has the power to transform the entire island. And that’s exactly what it has done. For example, Anguilla has recently abolished all residential property tax. Residents can now live tax free in their homes all due to the .ai extension. This is just the beginning of how life will be transformed on this remote island, thanks to AI.


When we think of people getting rich off AI, we think about revolutionary innovation. We think of Microsoft, OpenAI, and major players like Elon Musk and Sam Altman. These AI pioneers are the ones we expect to be benefiting the most off AI’s massive popularity. But it is the ones petting goats with their feet in the sand who are actually reaping the benefits.

Anguilla, named after it’s eel-like shape, is the hub of passive AI income. The funniest part about all of this is that Anguilla is one of the least technological places in the world! It’s not like Anguilla is setting up GPU farms on the island and building centers for AI innovation. Regulation? Responsible AI development? What’s that? Anguilla is pretty much the opposite of AI. It’s a place where people like Vince Cate go to get away from tech, put down their devices, and sip on some refreshing Mai-Tais. Nonetheless, because it is shaped like an eel (named “Anguilla”), it has become the undercover AI epicenter of the world.