OK. The plot thickens. This article focuses on how people can use crypto-currency to invest in the Caribbean (well, in Marriott) and “buy” their citizenship. This seems to be the latest in immigration à la Roger Ver, also known as “Bitcoin Jesus.” (A good subtitle for this would be citizenship for the 98%.)
Tired of paying wealthy-nation taxes? Worried that, in the event of calamity, your citizenship is going to drag you down? Roger Ver, the investor known as “Bitcoin Jesus,” has the product for you: Just use bitcoin to purchase a share in a Marriott development on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts and Nevis, and the government will throw in citizenship and a passport that gets you to 140 countries without a visa.
With the price-tag of a $400,000 real-estate investment (or just a $250,000 to a kind of sovereign wealth fund), St. Kitts has for decades been one of the cheapest places you can go to buy citizenship. It makes sense that it is frequently a haven for criminals, tax evaders (like the richest woman in Hong Kong, a human tax dodge, sanctions dodgers (pdf), and oligarchs.
The innovation that Ver brings to the table is crypto-currency—he earned his nickname backing a variety of bitcoin start-ups, and now he has set up a company, International Investments & Consulting, Ltd, that will accept payments in bitcoin to handle the St. Kitts investments and apply for citizenship, Bloomberg reports.
Bitcoin’s relative anonymity and its ease of transfer are expected to simplify the task, though after application fees and unspecified fees levied by Ver’s firm, it’s not clear if the bitcoin transaction would be any cheaper than an old-fashioned wire transfer—or a flight to the islands with a suitcase full of cash.
Ver notes that no visit is necessary to obtain this passport. After purchasing a share of a real estate development on the island, new citizens have to hold it for five years, but they can then sell it again to the next person seeking citizenship. His company is also happy to be your “one-stop shop” to set up offshore companies and new bank accounts. [. . .]