Passports for Bitcoin Offers Privacy to Consumers

May 16, 2014 22:58 UTC
Photo by J. Stephen Conn

A number of countries offer investment-based citizenship, which offers nonresidents the chance to acquire citizenship in return for injecting money into the local economy. Now, under a new economic program sponsored by the local government, people can use Bitcoin to apply and pay for citizenship in a popular Caribean nation popular among tourists.

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Passports for Bitcoin

[dropcap size=small]S[/dropcap]t. Kitts and Nevis was one the first nations to create a citizenship by investment programs, launching it in 1984. Now, the small island country is at the forefront of the next innovative citizenship trend–accepting Bitcoin as payment for all associated citizenship by investment fees. The government has authorized Passports for Bitcoin to handle these transactions. Citizenship can be obtained by filling out an official government application and either purchasing local real estate worth more than $400,000 or by donating at least $250,000 to the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF).

St. Kitts and Nevis  has a desirable Caribbean location and  favorable economic climate for investors. Many people are attracted to the islands because the nation has no capital gains or income taxes, which makes it a great location for investors. Roger Ver, the so-called “Bitcoin Jesus,” is a huge proponent of the Passports for Bitcoin program and has himself purchased citizenship in St. Kitts and Nevis using Bitcoins.

A St. Kitts and Nevis passport also offers increased freedom of movement to people whose movement is restricted by the country of their primary citizenship. Citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis can use their passport to travel to more than 140 countries visa-free. For example, United States citizens are currently prohibited from vacationing in Cuba. However, if a U.S. citizen acquires dual-citizenship in St. Kitts and Nevis, he or she can use the new passport to travel to Cuba uninhibited.

Compared to citizenship by investment programs offered by other countries, St. Kitts and Nevis’ is relatively quick and simple. Applicants can receive a decision within 4 months, and according to Ver, Passports for Bitcoin makes the process “smooth and easy to understand.” Moreover, applicants do not have to go through the hassle of visiting the country in-person before receiving their passport.

Acquiring Citizenship Privately

Courtesy of Passports for Bitcoin

Perhaps the most attractive feature offered by the Passports for Bitcoin program is the ability to obtain secondary citizenship privately. While St. Kitts and Nevis does not inform an applicant’s home country that they have acquired citizenship in St. Kitts and Nevis, applicants usually left a monetary paper trail. This is because in the past applicants have had to obtain citizenship by investment using fiat money, which their government would most likely be able to track via bank transfers. However, since Bitcoin can be used to make purchases privately, a Passports for Bitcoin customer can apply without their government being made aware.

Cost

Citizenship by investment is a very expensive endeavor for prospective applicants. In addition to the high cost of purchasing the local real estate or making the SIDF investment, prospective applicants must pay nonrefundable application fees totaling nearly $60,000 for each applicant and nearly $30,000 for each of their dependents. Unfortunately, these types of fees price most consumers out of the market. However, for those who can afford it, the Passports for Bitcoin program offers what has become a rare commodity in the modern age: privacy.

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