We are living in a digital era where the world has all but moved online. Technology aids us in almost every aspect of our daily lives. Nearly all essential needs from groceries and clothing to birthday presents can be bought with one click of a button. Even our cars are in the beginning phases of driving themselves.
Everything that we have grown accustomed to is changing. It is not difficult to imagine that even government-issued currency that we use to purchase our everyday needs, could soon be a thing of the past. In fact, this is fast becoming the new reality more than we might realise, with cryptocurrency like Bitcoin taking the place of traditional forms of money.
At this point, you’re probably wondering, “How does this impact me?”.
To answer this question, the UAE and MENA regions are home to some of the wealthiest individuals in the world. High-net-worth investors who are interested in or who are already holders of cryptocurrency can be found in places like Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Nigeria.
However, these countries and cities are not known for being cryptocurrency-friendly, and these individuals find themselves struggling to trade and invest their virtual currency in an accessible and accepting environment.
In this article, we look at how UAE and MENA individuals can benefit from both the concept of cryptocurrency and Citizenship or Residency by Investment (CBI/RBI).
In This Article:
What is Cryptocurrency?
A cryptocurrency is a form of decentralised currency that works on networks based on blockchain technology and is distributed across a large number of computers.
Put simply, cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, are a digital or virtual currency that is secured by cryptography – a strong code that makes it nearly impossible to counterfeit or double-spend.
Since cryptocurrencies are based on a decentralised structure, it allows them to exist outside the control of governments and central authorities. They are not generally issued by any central authority, meaning they are theoretically immune to government interference or manipulation.
The introduction of this virtual asset is still fairly new but is fast gaining popularity and leverage in the international market, with more and more people investing in dominant cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether and Ripple by the day. This is due to their portability, divisibility, accessibility, inflation resistance and transparency.
In short, cryptocurrencies are the currency of the future, and it might be worth getting on board with these digital assets sooner rather than later.
How are cryptocurrency and CBI/RBI connected?
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies serve the same purpose as government-issued money. They can be used to purchase goods, pay for services, remittances and any other monetary transaction. The only difference is that cryptocurrencies have no physical representation because of their digital nature.
We’re living in a digital age where the world is becoming increasingly reliant on technology in every aspect of daily life. Bitcoin and its counterparts are the currency of the future, and this is reflected in its growing popularity around the globe.
More and more people, especially business-minded individuals, are becoming cryptocurrency holders and are seeking out cryptocurrency-friendly countries where they can trade and invest their digital assets.
Places like Portugal and Malta are opening their arms to the cryptocurrency and are encouraging the use of these virtual tokens by building Bitcoin ATMs, offering tax exemptions and attracting crypto businesses to their shores.
Fortunately, these cryptocurrency-friendly countries also offer Citizenship and Residency by Investment programs that crypto investors can apply for to take full advantage of the favourable trading terms and tax policies.
Nations like Vanuatu take this one step further by allowing applicants to its CBI program to use Bitcoin to pay for their qualifying investment. As cryptocurrency grows in popularity, many other countries offering CBI or RBI programs will soon follow suit, allowing you to invest your digital assets into a tangible asset like a second passport or permanent residency.
Benefits of using cryptocurrency as payment for CBI and RBI
- Easily accessible
Cryptocurrencies have no physical representation, which means there aren’t any paper bills or coins to store in your wallet or purse. Rather, your virtual tokens are stored and managed in digital wallets that allow you to keep, send, receive and check your funds in real-time using a web browser on a computer or laptop or through an app on your smartphone. Meaning, you can access your cryptocurrency via most technological devices from anywhere in the world. Plus, thousands of merchants across the world accept cryptocurrency as payment for goods and services. And that number is only rising. More and more people are adopting virtual currency as a legitimate form of payment by the day – meaning you can use it anywhere around the globe.
- Favourable transaction costs
Transactions dealing with cryptocurrency are facilitated through direct payments, cutting out the cost for third-party services (like banks) completely – saving you money and lowering your transactions costs.
- Immediate payments
Cryptocurrency transactions can be completed almost instantly, leaving no need to visit a bank to clear funds as amounts can be sent directly to and from your digital wallet.
- Reduced risk of fraud
One of the factors cryptocurrencies are constantly receiving praise for is the low-security risk that is associated with it. For example, Bitcoin is famed for having a robust and complex technology that is nearly impossible to compromise. In addition, cryptocurrency networks are transparent in nature, allowing everyone on the network to view the whereabouts of the virtual tokens. This provides users with a sense of security and accountability.
How cryptocurrency protects your investments
- Your assets are secure: Having digital assets are great, but it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan and invest some of it in a tangible asset – and what’s more secure than second citizenship and passport?
- Safety-net & Plan B: Trading Bitcoin in exchange for citizenship or permanent residency in a stable and safe country will secure a prosperous present and future for you and your family in the event of unsavoury events taking place in your home country.
- Avoid unpredictable market crashes: Whether trading stocks or cryptocurrency, there is always a chance that you could fall victim to an unpredictable market crash or sudden government-mandated tax regulations. By investing in second citizenship or permanent residency, you can avoid losing currency.
- Broaden your horizons: Cryptocurrency is set to become a dominant force in the way the world operates, especially when it comes to business. Digital currencies improve many processes by making them more efficient, transparent and accessible. And many countries are already welcoming this shift. If you’re a cryptocurrency holder and would like to further explore the opportunities and benefits associated with being one, then it might be in your best interest to invest in second citizenship or permanent residency in a country that is already embracing the concept.
- Tax exemptions: Most cryptocurrency-friendly countries have tax exemptions or favourable tax policies in place for those paying and dealing in virtual tokens.
The South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu is the first – and the only (for now) – country to officially accept Bitcoin payments in exchange for citizenship and the accompanying passport.
Bitcoin payments can be facilitated through authorised agents that specifically deal in Bitcoin, who would receive the amount in the virtual currency, convert it into US dollars and remit the payment to the government.
Vanuatu’s Citizenship by Investment program is one of the fastest routes to second citizenship in the world and offers a passport that grants visa-free and visa-on-arrival access to over 125 countries and territories worldwide, including the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom and Singapore.
Antigua and Barbuda
As of yet, the Caribbean island nation of Antigua and Barbuda does not accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment in exchange for citizenship. However, the country is in the process of implementing channels that will eventually allow investors to pay their qualifying investment to the CBI program in Bitcoin.
Antigua and Barbuda citizens enjoy a passport that grants them visa-free and visa-on-arrival travel to more than 130 countries and territories worldwide, including the Schengen Area, Singapore and Hong Kong. The country’s Citizenship by Investment program is also well-known for having a fast and affordable process to get a second citizenship and passport.
With the installation of several Bitcoin ATMs throughout the country and favourable tax legislation toward cryptocurrency, Portugal has officially established itself as a cryptocurrency-friendly country.
Although you cannot use virtual tokens as payment for permanent residency as of yet, the Portugal Residency by Investment program still provides cryptocurrency holders with the chance to secure their digital assets and perform transactions without being heavily taxed.
In addition, holding permanent residency in Portugal will provide visa-free and visa-on-arrival travel throughout the Schengen Area and EU-member countries.
You might not yet be able to use cryptocurrency as a form of payment in exchange for citizenship in Malta, but the country is still one of the most Bitcoin-friendly nations in the world.
Malta prides itself on being a leader in the fintech sector, building an impressive infrastructure that encourages cryptocurrency trade and providing incentives for fintech companies to relocate to the country.
It is the ideal place for crypto investors, and holding citizenship through the Malta Citizenship by Investment program will only make the process that much easier.
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It’s not difficult to see why the concept of cryptocurrency is doing so well in the digital age. Crypto investors are popping up everywhere, while more and more countries are beginning to accept and embrace that virtual currency is slowly becoming the new norm.
If you’re thinking about relocating to a country where digital assets and other emerging innovations are more accessible and accepted, or you would like to secure your assets in the form of second citizenship and passport, be sure to render the services of an accredited and recognised advisor, like Savory & Partners.
When choosing us as your partner on this journey, you can be assured that you are in safe and capable hands. Savory & Partners is a long-standing and well-respected authorized agent that specializes in helping high-net-worth individuals secure citizenship through investment for themselves and their dependants.
The Savory & Partners team is made up of a diverse group of industry experts who span over 15 nationalities, speak over 25 languages collectively, and come with decades of accumulated CBI and RBI industry experience. Our level of expertise and competence combined with our commitment to serving our clients with the highest level of professionalism and transparency has led us to aid over 1,100 families obtain a second passport with a 100% success rate. There is no-one better positioned and more trustworthy than Savory & Partners when seeking the best results on your quest to secure a better future for yourself and your family.
If you would like to apply to one of the Citizenship or Residency by Investment Program mentioned above or would like to learn more, get in contact with us today for a free online consultation and one of our skilled agents will happily aid you in your enquiry.
We are available on every channel convenient for you.