By Anayat Durrani
Cryptocurrency is nothing new but it may open doors to increased opportunities in the global migration industry. Some countries are looking to attract foreign crypto investors with relaxed policies, including in the residency and citizenship by investment programs.
“While many countries do not accept cryptocurrency, some of them, such as Vanuatu, seem to have procedures to accommodate crypto investors. There are rumors that others, such as Antigua and Barbuda, are moving towards accepting cryptocurrency to purchase their passports,” says Marko Issever, Chief Executive Officer at America EB5 Visa, LLC in New York.
The island country Vanuatu in the South Pacific officially accepts bitcoin payments in exchange for citizenship and offers a passport valid for five years. Antigua and Barbuda is rumored to be in the process of accepting crypto currency payments for its citizenship by investment program.
Countries launching their own digital currencies
The Federation of St Kitts and Nevis is one of the first Eastern Caribbean nations to launch its digital currency, also known as DCash, through the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB). DCash is considered legal tender and is a real-time payment option available within the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).
The ECCB partnered with Bitt Inc to develop the securely minted digital version of the EC dollar. The digital transformation is expected to boost the economy and make the country a leader in digital delivery for its citizens, residents and investors, Akilah Byron-Nisbett, the Minister of St Kitts and Nevis' Information and Communication Technology said in an Economic Forum. The government also projected the mission into one of its main revenue generators, its CBI program, when Prime Minister Dr Hon. Timothy Harris announced the implementation of an online process to submit applications to its Citizenship by Investment Unit.
Globally, there are many crypto-friendly countries like Malta, Singapore, Australia and Turkey. Turkey is one of the countries with a CBI program that caters to citizens of countries with no direct E2 treaty with the United States that has advanced crypto capabilities.
“We are seeing an ever increasing number of crypto investors seeking a second residency or citizenship,” says Aran Hawker, a managing partner at CIPTurkey.net. “We are in a unique position as Turkey is a very friendly crypto country...”
The growing trend of block chain technology
Hawker says with the advancement of block chain technology, “crypto will replace standard fiat currencies as it is a fast, safer and more transparent way to complete a transaction.”
Hawker, an executive board member of CoinPanel.com, an advanced crypto trading platform, says they are also creating software and block chain technology to be able to provide smart contracting, title deed transactions plus accept payments in crypto currency.
“This will mean on our block chain, a client will be able to complete everything on one closed secure system,” says Hawker.
Investors have longed for the security of their funds and since crypto usually comes along as a blockchain transaction, it can provide the investor independent verification of safety and security. However, transactions using cryptocurrencies are anonymous and therefore the actual source of the funds could be suspect, some say.
“The ease of conversion from cash to cryptocurrency would potentially encourage money laundering and tax fraud,” says Issever. “The good news is if the governments embrace crypto and insert themselves into the process, then crypto could become the new “internet” of money transfer.”
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