I better check my wallet?
While most of the world's still getting used to using contactless banking payments, one nation seems to be ahead of the curve. Vanuatu, the tiny Pacific island home to a population of just over 270,000 people, is the first nation ever to start accepting payments for citizenship via Bitcoin. The Information Centre, put chiefly in charge of the handling of applications to the tiny country's honorary citizenship program, has this month received approval from the government to take payments via Bitcoin.
Citizenship gives you the visa-free travel to Britain and the EU alongside several low-tax benefits. Right now, it will cost you 44 Bitcoin – or around $306,000 at time of writing. The news comes as the cryptocurrency received a sudden surge in its price, rising from $US4,780 to a monstrous $US5,220 overnight. This makes it the all-time highest price since its inception.
With its strength as a currency climbing, the island may well have its priorities in the correct place with managing director of the centre and the official representative for the investment citizenship program, James Harris, saying that it makes sense to adopt the currency.
Speaking to Quartz via e-mail, Harris said that “cryptocurrency transactions are set to become very entrenched in global finance.”
“It makes sense for countries offering citizenship by investment programs to respond to the inevitable adoption of cryptocurrency for such transactions.”
Harris writes that they are “ready to immediately commence the processing of applicants and fully expect that within days to receive the first application under this new payment system.” The completely traceable and transparent nature of Bitcoin makes it a sensible way to deal with citizenship requests, Harris argued.