Vanuatu Becomes First Nation to Accept Bitcoin in Exchange for Citizenship

As Vanuatu is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the citizenship program grants visa-free travel to over 100 countries, including much of Europe. The chairman of the Vanuatu Information Centre (VIC), Geoffrey Bond.

Christian Nesheim, an investment migration specialist who advised the Vanuatu government, has described the decision as giving Vanuatu “a considerable competitive advantage in the citizenship market”. Nesheim suggests that many of these investors would seek to “convert their cryptocurrency into tangible assets in a low-tax jurisdiction. As Vanuatu will now be the only country to offer citizenship for bitcoins, I think the program will see a surge in interest more or less immediately.

The managing director of the VIC, James Harris, has addressed “suspicions surrounding the use of cryptocurrency in financial transactions” including “fears that it can be related to undesirable activities. Harris described Vanuatu’s acceptance of the cryptocurrency as comprising a “further strengthening of [Anti-Money Laundering] processes” pertaining to bitcoin.

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