If you’re watching the nights draw in, and getting up for the morning commute in the dark, you’re probably already planning your next summer holiday. You might even have had idle thoughts about moving somewhere sunnier where you won’t be wearing thick woolens for eight months of the year.
Here’s the good news. It’ll only cost you $200,000. Or to be precise, 44 Bitcoin.
The tiny island of Vanuatu, situated in the South Pacific Ocean is east of northern Australia, east of New Guinea, and west of Fiji. Now an independent Republic, Europeans first found their way there in 1606, and it spent years under Portuguese, then Anglo-French rule, finally gaining independence as late as 1980. In terms of its economy, tourism is a major industry and the island is particularly popular with scuba divers, particularly those wishing to view the wreck of US ocean liner and troop carrier, the SS President Coolidge. If the name sounds familiar to you – and you’re a reality television fan – that’s because programmes like Survivor and Celebrity Survivor (the Australian version) use the island for its beauty.
It’s also a tax haven. And that’s where the Bitcoin comes in.
Vanuatu will grant you full citizenship for a mere 44 Bitcoin – the first country to do so. As they rather formally put it “The Vanuatu Information Centre is pleased to convey that, effective immediately, applicants to Vanuatu’s DSP Citizenship Program will have the opportunity to make payments in Bitcoin”. Of course, it’s not quite that simple; as with any other country looking to convey citizenship to someone, all the right due diligence has to be done. But that cost is so small; especially if you just want to escape from it all to a diver’s paradise.
The island is also still a member of the Commonwealth, and English is one of the official languages – your citizenship will also offer you visa-free travel to some 113 countries, including Schengen area territories (so useful if you think projected post-Brexit restrictions might impact your business or leisure travel plans negatively). And, as we’ve already said, it’s a tax haven. And everything that goes with that, including not paying income tax or capital gains tax.
Vanuatu isn’t the only country in the world offering citizenship for pay, and it’s certainly not the cheapest either. Dominica is half-price by comparison, at a mere $100,000, and St. Kitts and Nevis just a little more at $250,000. If you’re keen to stay European, 650,000 Euros will buy you a Maltese passport. It is, however, the only one that will accept payment in Bitcoin.
For investors that have already made a small fortune through cryptocurrencies, citizenship of a low-tax country represents a sound tangible asset for anyone looking to translate their Bitcoin into a physical purchase. It is certainly expected that there will be a considerable surge of interest, especially as there is no requirement to live there, or even visit the country.