First Nation to accept Bitcoin as Payment to Become Citizen, Vanuatu
Vanuatu, Bitcoin, Digital Currency, Citizenship Program, South Pacific
Are you looking to find a nation-state willing to treat you like a client instead of a farm animal? Well, maybe the tiny nation of Vanuatu, a South Pacific island nation, might be the home for you.. But it’s gonna cost you, and they only accept bitcoins.
The South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu has become host to the world’s first government to accept bitcoin in exchange for citizenship. Vanuatu’s citizenship program costs $200,000 USD, meaning that at current prices the residency program costs less than 41.5 bitcoins.
Vanuatu Has Become the First Nation to Accept Bitcoin as Payment for Its Citizenship Program
As Vanuatu is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the citizenship program grants visa-free travel to over 100 countries, including much of Europe.
The chairman of the Vanuatu Information Centre (VIC), Geoffrey Bond, has stated that “the Government of Vanuatu has explicitly expressed a desire to be at the forefront of adopting new technologies, officially encouraging the VIC to receive payments in bitcoin. Bond states that “in addition to the normal due diligence probity checks that are required to obtain Vanuatu Citizenship, all bitcoin transactions will be run through our partner’s Australian Exchange and meet with the normal compliance requirements imposed by the Australian Financial Regulator.”
Christian Nesheim, an investment migration specialist who advised the Vanuatu government, has described the decision as giving Vanuatu “a considerable competitive advantage in the citizenship market”.
Nesheim describes a growing demographic of early bitcoin investors who “would like to realize some of their earnings without incurring large capital gains taxes.” Nesheim suggests that many of these investors would seek to “convert their cryptocurrency into tangible assets in a low-tax jurisdiction”, however, states that “the asset classes available to this type of investor have been limited… As Vanuatu will now be the only country to offer citizenship for bitcoins, I think the program will see a surge in interest more or less immediately.”