Lap dances. Horseback rides. Wine tours. A nightwith a Las Vegas escort.
You can buy just about anything withBitcoin these days.
Now, you can add citizenship to that list.
Introducing: Passports for Bitcoin, a projectthat sets clients up with citizenship to balmy Caribbean island-nation St.Kitts and Nevis, payable in cryptocurrency. St. Kitts and Nevis has offered a‘citizenship by investment’ program since 1984 that accepts investment into thelocal economy in exchange for a spanking-new passport.
The process, which takes 3 to 4 months,isn’t cheap. Wannabe citizens must either buy local real estate worth $400,000or more, or donate at least $250,000 to the Sugar Industry DiversificationFoundation (SIDF) – on top of a nonrefundable application fee of about $60,000per applicant plus an additional $30,000 for each one of his or her dependents.
For those who can afford it, though,holding a St. Kitts passport offers a number of benefits. Aside from thestunning seas, sands, and climate offered by the Caribbean country, St. Kitts doesn’ttake any income, wealth, or inheritance taxes; citizens get visa-free travel to140 countries and a 10-year multiple-entry visa to the United States.
For clients from politically tumultuouscountries or ones with invasive policies on individual privacy, the citizenshipprocess offers more abstract benefits: freedom and privacy.
“Today’s news headlines are filled withstories from around the globe about upheaval, increased taxes, and governmentsexerting more and more control over citizens’ freedoms and privacy,” thePassports for Bitcoin website says. “Having a second citizenship and passportin a stable country is now a must in order to hedge against governmentalintrusion and excessive taxation.”
Additionally, the process is confidential –home countries aren’t notified that their citizens have applied for or receiveda second citizenship.
Exactly how many clients have bought a St.Kitts passport with Bitcoin isn’t clear. The website of the project’s parent company,International Investments & Consulting, Ltd., says it has processed over100 applications, though it does not specify how they were paid for.
It’s clear, though, that the option ispopular amongst the rich and famous. Roger Ver, an American Bitcoinentrepreneur and ‘angel investor’ in Bitcoin startups, has bought himself apassport to St. Kitts, as has as the so-called “MostInteresting Man on Instagram” millionaire/poker player/playboy DanBilzerian.
“I became a St. Kitts citizen several yearsago as a hedge against possible world political turmoil which could negativelyaffect the United States,” Bilzerian wrote in a testimonialon the Passports for Bitcoin website. “I value freedom more than almostanything else and a second or third passport provides me insurance just in casethe U.S. government decides to value security over freedom.”
The founder of Russian social network site Vkontakte, Pavel Durov, also boughtSt. Kitts citizenship last month after fleeing the country under pressure fromthe government over data protection and privacy.
It is unclear whether Durov paid for hispassport in Bitcoin.