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Why can’t you buy foreign citizenship for bitcoins?

Can you buy a second passport while paying for it in a cryptocurrency? Well, it is not possible to make the required payment to the foreign country’s authorities directly even though some licensed immigration agents can accept payments in crypto later converting the money into a fiat currency. At the same time, the authorities of the countries that grant their citizenship to foreigners for money should pay more attention to the possibility to accept payments in cryptocurrencies, we believe. There are several reasons for that.

гражданство за биткоины

There are citizens of the world, those you assign a higher priority to global citizenship rather than a national one. These are called cosmopolites. You cannot be born a cosmopolite but you can become one as you grow up. The globalization processes that are currently going on ‘give births’ to an increasing number of cosmopolites.

The idea underlying the concept of cosmopolitanism is that global citizenship will incentivize the growth of freedom, and it will also promote peace, progress, equality, mobility, and prosperity of the world as a whole.

The first cosmopolites appeared before Christ. Diogenes of Sinop (around 412 BC) was once asked where he came from, to which he replied, “I do not have a homeland, as I am a citizen of the world”.

This idea was quite novel at the time of Ancient Greece. Most Greeks thought of themselves as citizens of a particular city or as Hellenes as members of a nation.

Socrates (469-399 BC) also said, “I am neither an Athenian nor a Greek. I am a citizen of the world”.

Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) also thought of himself as a citizen of the world and he adhered to this attitude until the end of his life. “Nationalism is a child disease; it is like measles for humanity”.

In the 21st century, the growth of cosmopolitanism was enhanced by the appearance of numerous citizenship-by-investment national programs. More and more people now live far away from the places where they were born.

Another factor contributing to the increase in the number of citizens of the world has also appeared quite recently. We are talking about cryptocurrencies that are super-national, global currencies rather than national ones. So, can you legally buy foreign citizenship by making a payment in crypto for it? Let us find it out. 

What you have to know if you would like to buy foreign citizenship for cryptocurrency

First of all, you have to bear in mind that you cannot pay in crypto directly to the national government of the country where you are applying for citizenship. You can do so only via a licensed immigration agent who will convert your cryptocurrency into a fiat currency and transfer the payment to the Government fund or invest the money into some property on your behalf.

What benefits could the national governments gain if they accepted payments for citizenship in cryptocurrencies? The key benefits would be the following ones:

  • The opportunity to diversify their financial assets;
  • The opportunity to attract more crypto investors;
  • Lesser dependence upon foreign correspondent banks that are unhappy with the idea of economic citizenship.

In total, there are over 1.6 thousand various cryptocurrencies that are in use in the world today and their number continues growing. Currently, the most popular cryptocurrencies are Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and Litecoin. It would be unwise to ignore this digital asset of the 21st century for a number of reasons with the following two being the most evident in the crisis times:

  • First, cryptocurrencies have withstood the pressure from large national governments that wanted to retain full control of the world financial system;
  • Second, the cryptocurrency exchange rates have not fallen due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, it is expected that national currencies are going to depreciate significantly, as governments all over the world will be printing more fiduciary moneys.

Cryptocurrencies have been money for people, not for governments so far. The system has been working independently of any national government 24/7/365 via a blockchain network. Nevertheless, there are certain risks associated with the use of crypto. The largest problem is the difficulty of determining the legality of the sources of bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies.

This is the main reason why governments of the countries that offer citizenship-by-investment opportunities will not accept crypto payments. Immigration agents and developers may accept such payments but not national governments.  

Some immigration agents will insist that you should exchange your cryptocurrency into a fiat currency yourself. In this way, they make sure that you undergo the due diligence procedures performed by the banks.

Some banks are very hard on cryptocurrency account owners and suspicious about exchange operations. They explain this attitude by the fact that the sources of the money can be unreliable. Crypto can be acquired by stealth, computer hacks, computer virus spreads, drug trafficking, corruption, etc.

It has to be admitted that accepting cryptocurrencies is risky for the banks. There is a vast number of crypto coins in the world and 95% of ICOs made by startups have been acts of fraud.

It is easy for a cryptocurrency owner to remain anonymous and thus crypto is often used for illegal activities such as money laundering, terrorism financing, and tax evasion. This is why many national states disallow the use of cryptocurrencies.

Crypto exchanges and other crypto companies have had to implement the KYC and AML procedures as well as take measures against terrorism financing. This has been done to lower the risks of financial crimes involving virtual currencies.

CipherTrace cryptocurrency research group analyzed 45 million crypto transactions made in 20 largest crypto exchanges around the world. The research revealed that due to weak AML measures, around 2.5 billion ‘dirty’ US dollars were legalized via these transactions. About 97% of direct payments made in bitcoins from identifiable criminal sources were made at non-regulated cryptocurrency exchanges. Other figures that the researchers has published include the following ones:

  • 74% of the bitcoins exchanges were used for transboundary transactions;
  • Last year, hacker attacks and fraudulent acts allowed the hackers to steal 4.5 billion dollar worth of cryptocurrencies;
  • At the same time, the amount of criminal money transferred via crypto exchanges decreased by 47% in 2019 due to the measures taken against money laundering practices. This shows that such measures have been quite effective.

Acquire foreign citizenship for fiduciary money at a considerable discount

Above we have quoted the main reasons why no national government in the world accepts crypto money as payment for citizenship of the country. Thus, it is impossible to buy a foreign passport for bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies. However, other developments in the digital world have made acquiring foreign citizenship simpler.

2020 has shown that everything is possible. Even something that looked unthinkable before. A national economy can be shut down. Angry Twitter users can take a whole country under control. And such things can happen in a heartbeat.

This is why having a ‘plan B’ is so important and acquiring foreign citizenship by investment will provide for a safety net that you can rely on. What is more, many countries that run citizenship-by-investment programs currently offer discounts trying to survive the consequences of the global pandemic.

Let us make a historical note here. After the world financial crisis of 2008, the economic citizenship industry was literally booming. Several small island states overcame the financial disorder by selling their citizenship to foreigners. This allowed them to keep the tax burden on their citizens in restraint.

Some citizenship-by-investment programs are run by Caribbean countries. Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, and Dominica are competing for new economic citizens.

When the hurricanes Irma and Maria wreaked havoc in the region in 2017, the authorities of St Kitts and Nevis were the first to lower the prices of their passports. This caused a ‘price war’ in the Caribbean and soon the costs of acquiring citizenship there became twice as low as they used to be before.  

In 2020, a pandemic hit the world leading to a global lockdown. The tourism industry has been switched to the standby mode now. The number of air passengers has dropped by 95% and the number of open hotels is close to zero.   

Most Caribbean states including those offering citizenship-by-investment opportunities rely heavily on the tourism industry and thus their incomes have decreased severely.

In response to this decrease, St Lucia was the first country to offer a discount to the foreign nationals seeking to acquire its citizenship. Until the end of 2020, you can invest US$ 250,000 into state bonds and get a St Lucian passport in exchange. Your investment will be returned after five years, without any interest though. Previously, the required investment into state bonds was twice as large. What is more, applications for St Lucian citizenship are accepted remotely and you do not have to visit the country – not even once.

You should bear in mind, however, that apart from the investment into government bonds, you will have to cover the costs of the immigration agent services and pay all the administrative duties such as due diligence and application processing fees. In addition, you have to realize that US$ 250,000 of your money are going to be ‘frozen’ for five years, which means that you will incur some losses. Besides, there is a risk of St Lucian Government default that can make it unable to buy the bonds back. Anyway, this investment option is worth considering.

Antigua and Barbuda, in its turn, is also offering temporary discounts and so is St Kitts and Nevis. It is reasonable to expect that other countries running citizenship-by-investment programs are going to offer discounts too because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The crisis of 2008 resulted in the appearance of several new national citizenship-by-investment programs. The current ‘corona-crisis’ may incentivize a few more national states to launch similar programs.  

Foreign citizenship by investment: the alternatives

Acquiring foreign citizenship is possible not only by making an investment. You can become a citizen of a foreign country by descent, by naturalization, by marriage, by adoption, or even by conversion to Judaism.

If you can afford it, however, you can ‘buy’ foreign citizenship by making a non-returnable donation, by investing into real estate in the country, or by launching a business venture there. This is the fastest way of acquiring foreign citizenship even though it is the most expensive one too.

Look around you: what is going on in the world? Mass protests, riots, national governments at a loss, currency fluctuations, injustice, social chaos, and gloomy prospects… You have to go somewhere where things are not so terrible. And Caribbean region is going to be the best choice. Purchasing the passport of a Caribbean state would be a very wise buy especially at this moment in time.

Having the passport will mean that you always have a quiet place to go to. We have seen national states closing their borders to foreigners but any country will let its own citizens in.

Besides, a number of Caribbean states do not levy the personal income tax. Thus, moving there can help you lessen your tax burden. This opportunity should sound especially attractive to those who work remotely. Ironically, the COVID-19 pandemic has clearly shown that a large number of jobs can be done from home!

At the same time, it has also shown that things can go mad in any national state and this fact should set you thinking about a ‘plan B’ especially hard. We are living through crazy times and a second passport can become a lifesaver for some.

Please contact us at info@offshore-pro.info or use WhatsApp or our live chat for that in order to obtain the most up-to-date information about second citizenship opportunities. We believe acquiring citizenship in the Caribbean would be the best choice but there are other options available in other parts of the world too. Our economic immigration experts will support you throughout the process of foreign citizenship acquisition – from the initial consultation until the day when you receive the passport!  

How can I acquire foreign citizenship within three months?

You can acquire foreign citizenship almost in an instant if you make a donation to the state fund of one of the Caribbean jurisdictions, or invest into real property, business, or government bonds. Soon after you make the donation or the investment, the authorities of the country are going to issue a second passport to you.

What documents do I have to submit when applying for foreign citizenship?

No personal interview nor language tests are required to become a citizen of a Caribbean country. You will have to submit quite a large number of documents, however. In addition to the completed application form, you will have to supply copies of your passport, driving license, clean police record, and other documents.

Who can help acquire foreign citizenship?

When applying for foreign citizenship, you will have to hire a licensed immigration agent who will help you fill out all the forms correctly, ascertain that the application document set is complete, and the donation or the investment amount is transferred to the right bank account.

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