According to the Antigua Newsroom, the Parliament of Antigua and Barbuda has recently changed the country’s Citizenship by Investment Programme Act to allow for cryptocurrencies as a new method of payment. The resolution was passed very quickly without any conflict or debate. To be an Antiguan and Barbudan citizen, one would need to pay about 12 Bitcoins for full citizenship.
“So not only are we providing the capacity for payment in Euros, but we are also providing for payments using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies,” said the Hon. Gaston Browne, the Minister of Finance and Corporate Governance and public-private partnerships of Antigua and Barbuda.
Browne, however, understood that with cryptocurrencies, they had to be very careful. The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda added that “moving money is important and if you cannot move money you cannot receive it. So it is quintessential that we have a payment mechanism that could facilitate payments in cryptocurrencies.”
To be eligible for the program, interested parties have the option of investing in businesses or making a considerable donation to the country. In terms of investing, one would need to invest between $400,000 and $1,500,000 USD. Alternatively, a single contribution of $100,000 to the National Development Fund would also suffice.
According to a press release by CoinGeek, the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Program was devised by Calvin Ayre and released in May 2018. The program by Ayre was, however, only available in Bitcoin Cash. The press release noted that the Government of Antigua and Barbuda only recognized Bitcoin Cash as the real Bitcoin back in May 2018.
Antigua and Barbuda Recognize Cryptocurrency Opportunity
As seen in the Antigua newsroom, the Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister recognized the growing influence of cryptocurrencies and the benefits they could bring to the country. Browne agreed. He saw that offering cryptocurrency as a method of payment could attract cryptocurrency enthusiasts and investors into the country.
“It expands your market because we have a number of cryptocurrency investors who may be quite willing to take up our citizenship but would only pay in cryptocurrencies,” said Browne before the Antigua and Barbuda parliament. He noted that if the country fails to accept cryptocurrencies as a medium of exchange, it could lock the country out of that market.
While the parliament was concerned about Bitcoin’s volatile prices, Browne assured the people that any cryptocurrencies accepted would be converted to US dollars daily to limit any potential exposure to the cryptocurrency market.
Openness to Cryptocurrencies Will Boost Antigua and Barbuda’s Global Reputation
Antigua and Barbuda has also been implementing cryptocurrency-friendly regulations. In April 2018, the Antigua and Barbuda attorney general drafted a legislation that permitted some government services to be paid for in cryptocurrencies.
Everly Paul Chet Greene, the Minister of Foreign, International Trade and Immigration, believes that these new amendments and changes are necessary for Antigua and Barbuda to remain a leader in the Caribbean. He noted that being open to emerging technologies and accepting cryptocurrency payments would help boost the country’s global reputation.
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