What is a ‘blockchain passport’? When and how can it become available? Can you acquire citizenship and a new passport of a foreign country by investing via cryptocurrency? What does El Salvador have to say on the matter? Who can help you make the deal using modern technologies before anybody else does? And why is it so easy to prove source of funds for due diligence purposes if you made your money in crypto?
Please read on to find the answers to these and other related questions.
The development of the concept of a ‘blockchain passport’ is in progress. If you had a blockchain passport, you could cross international borders with ease and enjoy many other important benefits. We discuss those below in detail, together with blockchain vaccine passports and due diligence on crypto funds for investment immigration… but first we would like to start in the present!
Passports for Crypto Investors Available Right Now
At the moment, with very few exceptions, one still needs a physical passport booklet to cross international borders. Blockchain early adopters, and crypto investors, are more conscious than average citizens about the benefits of holding multiple citizenships and passports.
Fortunately, there already exist right now a number of ways you can acquire one or more new citizenships and passports, by making blockchain investments.
- El Salvador is perhaps the highest profile example of a “passports for Bitcoin” plan. Back in the summer, President Nayib Bukele announced the adoption of Bitcoin as a parallel national currency, alongside El Salvador’s main currency, the US dollar. He also said he would be offering Salvadoran citizenship for “three Bitcoins.” The adoption of BTC as the Salvadoran currency went ahead as planned, with every citizen being given $30 worth of Bitcoin to get the project started. The proposed citizenship program, however, has not yet come to fruition. If it did, it would be a great citizenship-by-investment program with instant appeal to crypto investors, who miht be inclined to prefer this program for ideological reasons. However, many voices accuse President Bukele of seeking publicity and not following up his words with actions. We are watching El Salvador closely, and hope to have positive news in the future on the opportunity to obtain an El Salvador citizenship and passport in return for a Bitcoin investment.
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on economic citizenship programs, how to choose a jurisdiction and get a foreign passport.
In the meantime, however, let’s look at passports you can obtain today via traditional Citizenship by Investment programs that are, to a greater or lesser extent, crypto-friendly.
- Vanuatu: Vanuatu is an island nation of the South Pacific. Neither citizens nor residents of the country have to pay any personal income tax on their global earnings. Besides, there are no inheritance, gift, wealth, nor capital gains taxes in Vanuatu. The country offers the fastest opportunity to acquire second citizenship: the process is going to take you only a couple of months. You can apply for citizenship of Vanuatu by investment remotely. To become a full citizen of the country you have to make a donation of US$ 135,000 to the government’s coffers and pass the due diligence checks. You can obtain Vanuatu citizenship by making the required investment 100% in crypto. Even though the immigration agent that you retain will have to convert the bitcoins to a fiat currency before handing over the funds to the government, this process will be done in the background so you don’t have to have anything to do with banks! Citizens of Vanuatu have visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to more than 130 countries and territories including the Schengen zone states, Great Britain, and Singapore, among other countries.
- Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbean also administers a citizenship-by-investment national program. The government have declared themselves crypto-friendly. Local agents and banks, working with the government, have created a mechanism that would allow accepting cryptocurrencies as the popularity of this payment method is obviously growing. Similarly to Vanuatu, Antigua does not levy any personal income tax on its tax residents’ global earnings. There are also no inheritance, gift, wealth, nor capital gains taxes in the country. Citizens of Antigua and Barbuda have visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to more than 130 countries and territories including the Schengen zone states, Great Britain, Hong Kong, and Singapore. The process of Citizenship acquisition via naturalization typically takes between three and six months and the application can be filed remotely. The investment requirement forAntiguan citizenship starts from US$ 100,000 plus administrative fees.
- St Kitts and Nevis is another Caribbean country that has made all the right noises about being crypto-friendly, but implementation has been a bit patchy. Unlike Antigua and Vanuatu, St Kitts has a large crypto and blockchain community that lives there almost year around. Crypto evangelist Roger Ver, who styles himself as the “Bitcoin Jesus” has made his home on St Kitts and can regularly be spotted in several of the bars around Frigate Bay, where you can buy your beers with Bitcoin. In April this year, the St Kitts-based Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) officially launched its digital currency, also known as DCash. DCash, considered legal tender, is a real-time payment option available within the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) and offers a safer, faster and cheaper method for making payments, and also smooth crossover with the traditional banking system. Several offshore banks in Nevis are crypto friendly and Nevis has some of the world’s best asset protection, rust and LLC legislation.. All of which means the islands of St Kitts and Nevis are a great option if you are looking for a new passport and a new home, for yourself and your crypto.
Interested in obtaining a second citizenship and/or a European golden visa in return for crypto? Offshore Pro Group offers unbiased advice on setting up the whole transaction. Jump on a Zoom meeting with one of our experts who really know their business, and can coordinate the whole process for you in record time. Our experts all work under government licenses in their respective jurisdictions, and offer discounts to Offshore Pro Group clients. Contact us today to set up a meeting!
- Portugal: Portugal is foremost in Europe among crypto-friendly nations. You will find many bitcoin ATMs in the country as well as favorable legislation regulating crypto operations and a complete tax exemption for residents on the profits of crypto investments. Portugal offers ‘golden visas’ to foreign investors that serve as legal residence permits in the country. You can acquire legal residence in Portugal by investing as little as 280,000 euros in the country’s economy (purchasing real estate there, or investing in a fund). You cannot bring the investment in the form of a cryptocurrency thus far but we understand a government-approved investment fund to which you can make contributions directly in crypto is likely to be launched early next year. When you hold a Portuguese golden visa, you can travel around Europe freely, making it very attractive for non-EU citizens, including Brits who have belatedly discovered that post-Brexit, travelling around Europe is not as easy as they hoped. After holding the residence permit for five years, you are eligible to apply for full citizenship and passport of Portugal. You do not have to live in the country all the time even though some personal presence requirements exist. On top of that, Portugal offers the so-called Residente Não Habitual program to its new fiscal residents. This program allows minimizing or eliminating the personal income tax on your global incomes payable in Portugal for a period of 10 years.
- Malta: Malta also provides for citizenship-by-investment opportunities. Even though you cannot ‘buy’ Maltese citizenship for bitcoins, the government of the country does its best to promote the development of the crypto sector of the economy. Individuals and companies engaged in crypto activities are taxed at the rates that are low by the European standards and in some cases zero. Malta is proud to be one of the leaders in the fintech sector. The Government of the country is building an impressive infrastructure that attracts cryptocurrency traders and foreign fintech companies. Malta would be an ideal place for a crypto investor wishing to settle down in Europe. Acquiring citizenship of Malta will require about one million Euros and the process can take between six months and three years.
Blockchain Identities: The Future
Modern technologies are changing the world. Both national governments and commercial enterprises are investing heavily in research and development. Specialists are actively discussing the ‘blockchain passport’ idea. But what is a blockchain? This technology has a potential of becoming vitally important in the near future.
Blockchain platforms are used as the bases for cryptocurrency ecosystems, but actually they can go a lot further than that. Blockchain can be used to manage digital or real world identities, including passports. Because blockchain platforms are decentralized systems that do not have central control units, digital assets are outside the scope of government control. This fact is a distinct positive for many crypto businesspeople and crypto investors.
Vaccine passports in blockchains
Hopes are growing that the lockdown times will be over soon as more and more people are vaccinated against the coronavirus. At the moment this text is written, about one third of the world population has received at least one shot of the vaccine. Health professionals have given 4.5 billion shots of different vaccines in total. Forty million shots are given every day.
Many countries discuss the opportunity to issue confirmation certificates to those who have been vaccinated. The certificates should simplify international travel for the holders and give them access to public events and public places such as bars and restaurants, for example.
Some countries have already launched vaccination confirmation programs. In Israel, for example, the vaccination process is in full swing and the local medical authorities started issuing ‘green passes’ in June 2021 to those who had been vaccinated against the coronavirus or acquired antibodies. The passes give the holders access to public places and events. The European Union and South Korea have followed the Israeli example.
In many countries, QR codes are used as medical certificates. This approach arouses justified concerns about personal data security. Sceptics claim that confidential medical information may become available to third parties and besides, the movements of the QR code holders can be traced.
The reliability of the QR codes is also questionable. According to the mass media, false digital medical certificates with negative test results are already on sale in the ‘dark net’. In addition to that, healthcare experts and human rights groups express concerns about the discrimination against individuals who physically cannot get access to the vaccine at the moment, cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, or simply don’t want to take the vaccine.
Blockchain technologies may step up in this situation. Having a vaccine passport on a blockchain can solve various problems including the confidentiality issue. There will be no personal data security risks if the medical information is stored on an encrypted blockchain platform.
It is virtually impossible to alter the data stored in a blockchain. Besides, the medical information stored in a blockchain can be detached from personal information. The supplier of medical services issuing a vaccination certificate by use of a blockchain will supply a secure key to the person acquiring the certificate. A public key will be stored in a blockchain. When the person submits his/ her QR code for scanning, only the minimal sufficient information about the vaccination will be displayed on the screen.
The holder of the ‘vaccine passport’ stored in a blockchain will be able to decide what part of identification information he or she wants to supply. For instance, he/ she can choose to reveal the personal name, date of birth, or nationality. This approach allows preserving the confidentiality of personal information while confirming the vaccination record.
It is true that the use of blockchain-based vaccination passports will make national governments cooperate. They will have to agree on a set of rules that will govern the use of such passports on the international level. The need is so pressing, however, that it is reasonable to expect that governments of different countries will take serious effort to implement the project. Probably, we are going to have blockchain-based vaccination passports very soon.
The use of blockchain passports when traveling
Imagine that you do not have to stand in lines at airports to pass through the border controls. Imagine that you can have no paper documents nor paper money to fly to a foreign country. Imagine a world that is fully digitized! We believe that blockchain passports and a wide use of cryptocurrencies are in sight and a new era is coming. We will probably be able to enjoy all the advantages that new technologies bring after the pandemic is over and the national borders are open again.
Consider the benefits that blockchain passports can bring to the traveler:
- No queueing: Many airports had started using smart terminals that allowed avoid long lines even before the coronavirus pandemic began. Those passengers who carried machine-readable documents could simply have their biometric data scanned by the machine thus obtaining authorization. The airports only need to install new software in the terminals to be able to use blockchain technologies for passenger identification.
- Checking in for flights: Booking tickets and checking in for the flight is going to be extremely easy with the use of a blockchain platform. The distributed database will ‘learn’ to verify visas and identification documents automatically. This will let the airlines save on operational costs greatly, as they will need no personnel to verify the documents at the checkpoints.
- Digital identification documents: A paper passport is a rather clumsy thing. If you lose your passport while in a foreign country, for example, you are going to be stuck at the border for a few days and this is the least unpleasant scenario. Replacing your lost passport is a long bureaucratic process. A blockchain passport available via a smartphone or another mobile device would be a solution to this problem. The immigration officer (or, more likely, the smart terminal) could scan the QR code/ visa/ passport data stored in a blockchain and identify the traveler with ease.
- Digital currencies: A passage from paper money to crypto money will make international travel even more digitized. Serving as the basis for cryptocurrency use, blockchain platforms make payments faster and less expensive. You can pay your airfare or even acquire a new citizenship by investment by simply touching the screen of your smartphone a few times.
Blockchain technologies allow storing the biometric data such as your fingerprints, iris scan, etc., in a geographically distributed database. As the personal data stored in a blockchain is encrypted, only the authorized persons will have access to it. The most important point about it, is that you can reliably control access to the data yourself.
The new technology is conquering the world. Soon we will live without paper identification documents. Among other things, this is going to contribute to solving environmental issues because less paper is required – fewer trees need to be cut down. Blockchains will also allow savings and effort on tackling the document forgery issues as blockchain passports, medical certificates, and other documents can simply not be forged.
Australia, New Zealand and some other countries now issue electronic visas. This practice does not let the authorities completely solve the fraud problem, however. International exchange of identification systems involving the use of blockchain platforms would be a perfect solution.
Even though blockchain technologies do not allow building teleports that could relocate the traveler instantly from one time zone to another, they stimulate the development of innovative security technologies. This is exactly what the transportation sector of the economy and its users need today.
Blockchain passports for tax planning
Talking of cryptocurrencies, we must note that the exponential growth of crypto-related businesses has increased the number of billionaires by a hundred and the number of millionaires by thousands. At the same time, these nouveaux riches, unlike previous generations, have learned to stay under the radar and spend their money with great caution. Most of them have not had to pay taxes on their crypto earnings, as this area of business remains largely unregulated. If they start spending money without any restrictions, the fiscal authorities may pounce.
In any case, the situation is likely to change soon and cryptocurrency operations will be more uniformly taxed everywhere. At the end of the day, the design of the blockchain systems suits the tax collector very well and it does not suit the tax evader at all. All the information is publically available and the data cannot be altered.
If you are engaged in a crypto business or if you are planning to explore this opportunity, you should not be thinking about earning money while avoiding paying taxes. Instead, you should look into the available opportunities to acquire legal and tax residence in crypto-friendly jurisdictions. While some national governments are reluctant to legalize crypto operations, there are countries that actually promote their development. You can acquire a legal residence permit or a passport of a crypto-friendly country and fling yourself whole-heartedly into crypto business. We discussed this already earlier in this article, but it’s worth repeating this point because it is just so important.
Transparency of blockchain operations favour those applying for foreign residency and citizenship
Suppose somebody bought 20 bitcoins in the early 2010s paying US$ 1,000 for each coin. Today, a Bitcoin sells for well over US$ 60,000, which makes the person a millionaire. If he or she applies for foreign citizenship, he/ she has to go through the due diligence procedures and demonstrate that the investment capital has been acquired in a legal way. With the blockchain technologies serving as the ecosystem for bitcoin operations, it is extremely easy to demonstrate the legality of the sources of income. Transparency and reliability of the data is one of the key characteristics of all blockchain platforms.
Regardless of the way that the cryptocurrency was purchased in, the transaction is easily traceable via a Blockchain Explorer. It is enough to enter the e-wallet address and the information about the amount and the date of purchase will become visible. This is truly one of the simplest way of verifying the sources of income.
Providers of KYC / AML services are able to trace the transactions in different registers (different blockchains). For instance, Merkle Science and Chainalysls experts can analyze any particular case. Blockchains are much more transparent in comparison to the registers of fiat transactions in the traditional fiat banking system. This means that the immigration authorities of the country whose citizenship a crypto investor is seeking will have no trouble verifying his/ her sources of income.
We must note however, that some states like St Kitts and Nevis, and Antigua and Barbuda, have already launched Central Bank Digital Currency programs. They might not be perfect, but they are a big step in the right direction. These Caribbean countries are truly front-runners who stand a good chance to gain considerable benefits from their farsighted initiatives. Hopefully, opportunities to acquire second citizenship for other crypto will soon become fully available in many other countries, but the Eastern Caribbean states of St Kitts and Nevis and Antigua and Barbuda will retain their first move advantage. As for El Salvador, we’ll have to wait and see!
Expert support to crypto investors and blockchain users
A new technology is only an instrument. Its value lies in the social impact that it can have. Blockchain technologies have vast social potential in various spheres from tax planning to economic immigration.
Are you thinking of relocating to a crypto-friendly country because you are interested in blockchain technology developments? Would you like to protect your crypto assets? Would you like to improve your personal security and the security of your loved ones by obtaining new passports from a neutral country? Would you like to learn more about the citizenship-by-investment programs available in the investment immigration market? You are most welcome to apply for consultations with our immigration experts! Our experts all work under government licenses in their respective jurisdictions, and offer discounts to Offshore Pro Group clients.
You will put yourself in good hands if you choose Offshore Pro Group, owners of the International Wealth portal, as your reliable partner in investment immigration matters. We specialize in assisting well-to-do individuals with acquiring foreign citizenship, tax planning instruments, international crypto banking and investment opportunities.
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What are the advantages of a blockchain passport?
A blockchain passport would let you avoid trouble if you lose your paper passport. In addition, it provides for unparalleled precision as far as the traveler identification is concerned while protecting his/ her personal information.
What is a vaccine passport on a blockchain platform?
After the vaccination, the healthcare service provider generates a blockchain vaccine certificate (or passport) that has two keys. The first key is private and the second one is public. The public key is stored on the blockchain platform and when the certificate holder supplies the QR code, the vaccination information becomes available to the control officer who scans the code. If necessary, the certificate holder can use his/ her private key to give the officer access to some additional personal information such as name, address, and so on.
Why would it be a good idea for a country to offer second passports to crypto investors?
A crypto investor applying for a second passport will have no trouble demonstrating the legality of his/ her sources of income because all blockchain operations are perfectly transparent. Besides, when the authorities of the host country diversify the methods of payments that they endorse, they will be less dependent on banks, correspondent banking and de-risking issues.