The government of the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu has announced that it’s already accepting the digital currency Bitcoin as payment for its citizenship program.

Under the program, foreigners can acquire Vanuatuan citizenship through a one-time payment of $200,000, or slightly more than 43 Bitcoin, Newsweek reports.

The citizenship program is being managed by the Vanuatu Information Centre’s (VIC) Development Support Program (DSP).

According to VIC Chairperson Geoffrey Bond, the acceptance of Bitcoin as payment is part of the Vanuatu government’s bid to lead the adoption of new technologies worldwide.

“While attempts have been made in the past to effect payments for citizenship by investment programs via Bitcoin, these efforts never had the political stamp of approval and were shut down as a consequence. In this case, the government of Vanuatu has explicitly expressed a desire to be at the forefront of adopting new technologies, officially encouraging the VIC to receive payments in Bitcoin.”

Citizenship program

Under the citizenship program, foreigners who want to become Vanuatuan citizens should pay Bitcoins through an Australian digital currency exchange. The exchange should comply with the requirements mandated by financial regulations in Australia.

As Vanuatu is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, its citizens are allowed to travel in 113 countries, including European Union (EU) states, Russia, and Great Britain, without a visa. This privilege will also be given to foreigners who have acquired Vanuatuan citizenship.

According to investment migration expert and VIC advisor Christian Nesheim, Vanuatu’s move to accept Bitcoin as payment will give it a competitive advantage in the global citizenship market.

“Many early investors in Bitcoin would like to realize some of their earnings without incurring large capital gains taxes. Ideally, then, they would 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.”

We’ve seen investments where investors could pay for their real estate in the form of Bitcoin, but this is by far the first country to offer its citizenship investment payable through Bitcoin.