Antigua and Barbuda becomes the first country to accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as payment for citizenship by investment program (CIP). On Monday July 23, the parliament of Antigua and Barbuda amended by resolution on Citizenship by Investment Programme Act to allow payments to be made in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The resolution also allows payments to be made in Euros and currencies other than US dollars.
“Thus, we not only give the opportunity to pay in euros, but also in bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies,” Gaston Browne said. He added that Antigua will handle the processing of crypto payments with utmost care and accountability
According to Browne, the changes in the CBI program of Antigua and Barbuda were long overdue. “It is very important to be able to transfer money quickly and without delay. If money can not be transferred, it cannot be received. Thus, it is vitally important that a payment mechanism is developed that could facilitate payments in the crypto currency,” Browne explained.
Browne believes a lot of crypto-millionaires are ready to invest their crypto-savings in their second citizenship. The prime minister hopes that Antigua will experience inflow of foreign investment and revitalize its CBI program once it starts accepting bitcoins and other crypto currencies. Antigua can indeed become the first country in the Caribbean region to start taking bitcoins as payment for a second passport.
Any and all digital funds will converted into US dollars on a daily basis in order to minimize the possibility of financial losses, since the exchange rate of crypto-currency tends to be unstable.
The Caribbean banks will be able to breathe more freely thanks to integration of cryptocurrency in the CBI programs. The countries of the Caribbean region suffer from the intense attention of US correspondent banks that carefully check each payment, thereby delaying the reception and transfer of funds to the Caribbean recipients for weeks or even months. So, once the Caribbean region understands how convenient and quick it is to accept payments in the crypto currency, the trend will spread to all spheres of international trade, going beyond citizenship for investment programs.
It should be noted that the Antigua & Barbuda CIP is not the first such program for which it is possible to pay in crypto-currencies. Vanuatu passports are also available to investors who pay in bitcoin, ether, and similar instruments.
What’s different in Antigua, is that the government itself will accept crypto-assets, while in Vanuatu, the “master agents” are allowed to take their payments in crypto, but must still convert to US dollars before finally paying the government. This distinction is important, not least because in Vanuatu, unlike in the Caribbean programs, the master agent acts as the escrow executor; applicants must pay the agents the full amount up front in Vanuatu, rather than waiting for their approval in principle, as is the case among other CIPs.
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