On July 23, the parliament of Antigua and Barbuda announced its economic citizenship program, which allows people to obtain a form of citizenship to the country for $100,000, which can now be paid for with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The citizenship program allows most of the same rights of full citizenship.
Attracting Investment to the Small Island Economy
Prime Minister Gaston Browne explained the rationale behind using cryptocurrency as a payment method:
“[T]he truth is too, it expands your market because we have a number of cryptocurrency investors who may be quite willing to take up our citizenship but would only pay in cryptocurrencies. If you do not accept the cryptocurrency then you would be literally locked out of that market.”
At the same time, he said that all earnings would be converted to fiat each day “to ensure that we don’t have any exposure in cryptocurrencies.”
Another reason, according to Browne, is to avoid potential citizens having banking difficulties when applying for citizenship:
“A number of agents have been de-banked by various banks within the domestic banking space because they are saying that their correspondent banks within the US are saying that if they were to process CIP transactions, that they would withdraw their correspondent banking.
What we are trying to do is to give them the option of establishing accounts with offshore banks including Global Bank and Commerce and others, so they have the option of having a bank that is willing to accommodate their transactions.”
Diversifying Away From Fiat
One of the obstacles for widespread crypto adoption, as mentioned by economists, is the fact that taxes and government levies are usually only payable in the fiat currency of the government. However, along with Antigua and places like Arizona, more governments are discussing integrating crypto into their economies.
Antigua has seen a flurry of activity in the crypto space lately. The government has declared its interest in allowing initial coin offerings, the incorporation of crypto companies, and has generally been bullish on the future of cryptocurrency use.