The 2010s saw the rise of a new force – the cryptocurrency. Bitcoin revolution has essentially changed our perception of money’s form and role. Today, financial transactions using digital gold are gradually becoming more common.
Bitcoin has already been made legal by the government of Japan. The cryptocurrency was legalized in the Philippines as well, although only in case of money transferring. Switzerland is installing bitcoin ATMs and integrating the cryptocurrency into various payment systems (transport fees, for instance).The Swiss plan to continue developing the rules on bitcoin regulation. In November 2016, accounting standards for bitcoins were introduced by Australia. The Singaporean government announced the speedy inclusion of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the list of legal financial instruments.
Today, you can pay for almost everything with bitcoins: from hardware, computer programs to jewelry, to elite real estate and space satellites. One of the newer trends is buying a second citizenship with bitcoins. Having caught the wind of this new possibility and realising the benefits, authorities of some countries in the Caribbean Basin are actively working to introduce corresponding changes in their passport programs, for instance, integration of Bitcoin into national mutual settlement systems.
Cryptocurrency can be used to pay for any goods and services. The process is no different from paying with dollars, euros or any other currency. With virtual money, one can buy luxury real estate in Bali, the USA, Greece, Spain, France, and other parts of the world, as well as pay for studies in some universities in Cyprus, the USA and Great Britain. Bitcoin payment is accepted in bars and restaurants, hotels, hardware and jewelry stores around the world. The list of places where you can pay with virtual currency is available at coinmap.org.
The authorities of Antigua and Barbuda are drafting the Implementation of Bitcoins bill. The decision was made after a working meeting between the government of the country and the representatives of the Antigua Leisure & Gaming Association represented by Calvin Aire. The magnate of online gambling pointed out “the growing convergence of bitcoins, online games, virtual reality technologies and gaming,” and noted that Antigua can use this convergence to attract investments to the economy, and to globally develop services.
At the same time, Vanuatu (a small nation in Oceania) has every chance to become the first country in the world to accept payment in bitcoins for citizenship-by-investment program. According to the chairman of the Vanuatu Information Center, Geoffrey Bond, the government “has explicitly expressed a desire to be at the forefront of adopting new technologies, officially encouraging the VIC to receive payments in Bitcoin”. If this solution is implemented, all bitcoin transactions will pass through the Australian cryptocurrency exchange to ensure they meet the Australian Financial Regulator’s compliance requirements.
In order to acquire the citizenship of Vanuatu, it is necessary to invest US$130,000 into the economy of the country and pay a minimum of US$52,000 for additional charges (security screening, processing). According to the current exchange rate at the time of writing at the BitStamp exchange (US$5,520), the cost of Vanuatu's passport reaches 33BTC.
Passport programs of the Caribbean countries are in demand among wealthy people around the world. This is facilitated by some possibilities which are open to investors:
The advantages mentioned above make the Caribbean citizenship by investments programs extremely attractive to applicants, and the decision to implement bitcoin-payments will attract even more foreign investors and put island states’ CIB programs to the next level.