Digital currency: what is the difference between cryptocurrency and which countries are planning to issue it

May 17, 2021
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The world’s leading countries are developing and testing digital money – electronic versions of their national currencies. We tell you what we know about the new versions of world currencies and which countries are already using a digital analog of their money.

Digital currency is a digital-analog of national money, not a type of cryptocurrency. Digital currency cannot be mined independently.

Cryptocurrency is not mined by central banks and does not perform all the functions of money. Cryptocurrency has no guarantees of citizens’ rights, it is not backed by valuable assets, and its value fluctuates without control by banks.

The purpose of launching digital currency is to provide a simple and secure way to pay. Digital currency will not replace national money, but instead will be an additional payment option.

Digital currency systems calculate transactions for customers faster than conventional banks. Bank transfers often take more transactions between the banks of buyers, intermediaries, and sellers: sometimes settlements take hours or even days.

Which countries are developing and testing a national digital currency?

China. The People’s Bank of China began work on the digital yuan in 2014. Over 7 years, China has developed the concept and conducted 10 tests of the system, the last one was launched in April 2021.

Eleven regions of the country participate in the digital yuan test. Participants are divided into two types: those who permanently reside in the regions and those who come temporarily. Chinese banks have minimal access to the data of newcomers, so their wallet types are different from those of locals and support only small transactions.

Other electronic payment systems operate in China, such as WeChat Pay and Alipay. The People’s Bank of China notes that the digital yuan better protects user privacy.

Financiers in most countries believe that China will be the first country to fully migrate its currency to an authorized blockchain.

Caribbean. The digital currency appeared in the Caribbean on March 31, 2021. The Eastern Caribbean Bank has launched DCash, the counterpart of the Eastern Caribbean dollar. It is being tested in four countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St. Kitts, and Nevis and St. Lucia. Citizens of these countries accept payments and transfers in DCash and pay in the new currency at banks, stores, and eateries.

How DCash works and who can use the digital currency, we told in the article “The new digital currency of the Caribbean”.

European Union. The European Central Bank has begun to assess the pros and cons of launching the digital euro in 2020. Now the central bank is analyzing the experience of other states and collecting citizens’ opinions on the launch of the euro counterpart.

According to the ECB report, people want to be confident in the privacy and security of the system. They also expect that the digital euro will be convenient to use throughout the Eurozone and offline and that there will be minimal or no additional fees.

USA. Five Digital Dollar pilot projects will be launched across the U.S. in 2021. Two organizations – Digital Dollar Foundation and Accenture – are responsible for the launch. Representatives of the companies say that a digital dollar is a new form of money, which is designed specifically for online payments and complements the existing electronic money.

Project specialists will analyze and determine the technical and functional capabilities of the digital dollar, assess the advantages and weaknesses of the development, and create test applications.

Russia. The Bank of Russia presented the concept of the digital ruble in October 2020 and offered it for discussion to market players and financial experts.

It is planned that the digital ruble will be stored in a special electronic wallet. Users will be able to transfer a digital code from one wallet to another. And digital rubles can be used for online or offline payments.

Digital currency for investors

Investors could be allowed to transfer investments under residency or citizenship programs as a digital currency. But so far, central banks in countries with citizenship programs have not disclosed all their plans.

Five Caribbean countries offer citizenship by investment. Investors are more likely to make a bank transfer to the program’s department account. But there are exceptions. For example, St. Lucia accepts payments online through a secure platform: investors pay a fee to the state fund, administrative fees, and background checks. We talked about this in the article “Paying expenses in 2 minutes instead of 2 weeks.”

Antigua and Barbuda allow investors to use cryptocurrency as proof that the investor has enough money to invest.

Caribbean investment programs

Country Investments
Dominica From $100,000
St Lucia From $100,000
Antigua and Barbuda From $100,000
St Kitts and Nevis From $150,000
Grenada From $150,000

The main advantage of the Caribbean passport is visa-free travel to more than 140 countries, including the Schengen states, Great Britain and Hong Kong.

Investors are entitled to stay in the European Union for 90 days per semester and 180 days in the UK. Citizens of Grenada are also free to come to China for 30 days per year.

Four EU countries offer residence permits by investment.

Austria offers a residence permit to financially independent persons. Investors receive a residence permit by investment according to quotas. The government allocates a limited number of quotas – in 2021 there are only 450.

Malta grants a residence permit by purchasing or renting a housing unit. The investor also pays an administrative fee, a government fee, and a contribution to a Maltese nongovernmental organization, as well as proves that he has assets worth € 500,000 or more.

Greece offers a residence permit by investment from €250,000. The investor can open a deposit in a local bank, buy real estate or shares in Greek companies.

Portugal grants a residence permit by investment of €350,000 or more. The investor chooses from 8 investment options. The most popular is the purchase of real estate because the objects are allowed to sell after 5 years. So investors not only get a return on investment but also receive income from the growth of property prices.

Investment programs of EU countries

Country Investments
Austria From €100,000
Malta From €110,000
Greece From €250,000
Portugal From €350,000

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent of European and Caribbean investment programs. If you want to move to one of the European Union countries or the Caribbean, seek advice from experts in investment programs.

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