Antigua and Barbuda’s Citizenship by Investment Program Act has been amended to now allow individuals to pay for its citizenship with Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.
Previously, the only path to purchasing citizenship was by spending USD 100,000; this currently translates to just over BTC 12. To avoid any issues regarding market volatility, cryptocurrency payments would be converted each day to USD to prevent any financial losses.
The legislative resolution was announced Monday by Hon Gaston Browne, the country’s Prime Minister and Minister of Finance & Corporate Governance & Public-Private Partnerships. Browne noted that the decision was made in order to simplify the citizenship process for those with cryptocurrency holdings, while also appealing to people across the globe because of the international nature of cryptocurrencies.
Speaking to Antigua’s parliament, Browne told the members that this decision would have the potential to greatly expand the number of individuals seeking citizenship, as he anticipated there were many people willing to make the purchase, but only via a direct cryptocurrency payment. By not accepting cryptocurrency payments, he argued, there would be people ”literally locked out of that market“.
Progress for Antigua
The country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade & Immigration, Everly Paul Chet Greene, has been vocal in arguing in favor of blockchain technology, saying its transparent nature could improve the nation’s banking sector and reputation as a tax haven. Antigua has struggled to move past its notoriety of being particularly susceptible to money laundering and other financial crimes.
This is also not the first crypto-friendly action of the country. In April 2017, legislation was passed that would allow citizens to pay for government services using Bitcoin. Greene at the time said that this decision would solidify the nation as a leader in its region, much in the same way Browne argued for citizenship costs be accepted in cryptocurrencies.
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