Antigua and Barbuda plans to introduce payments in crypt currency to pay for investments

November 9, 2020
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Cryptocurrency in Antigua and Barbuda
Photo: Adobe Stock
Cryptocurrency may become an available option for non-cash settlements and money transfers in Antigua and Barbuda. The government wants to introduce crypto payments as an analogue to existing systems such as Moneygram or Western Union.

Information Technology Minister Melford Nicholas discussed the idea with local business people and money transfer operators. 6 companies are ready to develop solutions that will allow introducing bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies into their financial operations.

Antigua and Barbuda already have a legal framework for the use of cryptocurrencies. The Government will check new developments to ensure that they comply with the Digital Financial Assets Act 2020.

The Government expects that if the first 6 companies successfully implement crypto payments, this experience will be gradually transferred to other areas of the economy. For example, Antigua and Barbuda will start accepting cryptocurrency to pay for the costs of the citizenship programme for investments.

What difficulties are currently encountered by programme participants in paying

15% of investors who apply to Immigrant Invest would like to pay for their participation in the programme in cryptocurrency. But as of November 2020, it is not possible to pay for the investment in the crypt currency.

Antigua and Barbuda formally consider foreign investors’ cryptocurrency accounts, which are granted citizenship under the programme. But with their help, the investor can only confirm that he or she has enough money to participate and that they have been legally earned.

In 2018, the Programme Department stated that it was ready to accept crypto payments to pay for the investment and associated programme costs. But in fact, the investor needs to convert the cryptocurrency into euros or dollars. It then transfers the money to a currency account from which it then pays for the programme costs.

The mechanism for accepting crypto payments will speed up the payment process. If it appears in Antigua and Barbuda, investors will be able to make settlements under the citizenship programme directly in the cryptocurrency. It will be easier to take part in the programme and the number of people wishing to obtain a second passport will increase.

Which other countries plan to develop the cryptocurrency market?

Vanuatu was the first country in the world to invite investors to pay for its citizenship programme with Bitcoins in 2017. But until now, the cryptocurrency has to be converted into dollars first.

In September 2020, the European Commission published a draft regulation on the control of the cryptocurrency market within the European Union. In particular, the Government of the European Union will issue passports to companies that produce or use cryptocurrencies. To obtain such a passport, a company must have a share capital of 350 000 € and a reserve of paper currency.

We talked about the planned changes in the material “The EU Government is creating a single legislation on cryptocurrency”.

According to the consulting agency PwC, over the next 10 years, the Blockchain technology and the cryptocurrency market will bring 1.76 trillion dollars to world GDP. Most countries in the world will have to develop legislation to regulate the cryptocurrency market.

The availability of a legal framework will increase the opportunities for investors who prefer to keep the money as digital assets.

Firstly if an investor buys cryptocurrency from a licensed company, he can easily prove the legality of assets during a Due Diligence process. Such verification is an obligatory stage of participation in any investment programme worldwide.

Secondly, the more transparent the market for digital assets, the easier it is for governments to implement financial solutions. This is why we expect that together with legislation, mechanisms for accepting payments in cryptocurrency will be actively developed. In particular, for participation in citizenship and residence permit programmes for investments.

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