Roger Ver, a Bitcoin enthusiast and investor, has bought a citizenship to St. Kitts-Nevis with Bitcoin and advertised the country’s citizenship program by retweeting a post made by the website that promotes this program. St. Kitts-Nevis is a two-island federation in the West Indies that adopted a investment-for-citizenship program within their borders in 1984. With this program, people can invest a certain amount of money into the country in exchange for a St. Kitts-Nevis citizenship.
Bitcoin Buys Citizenship
Now, the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis has taken a step into the digital era by extending their investment citizenship program to accept Bitcoin as payment for citizenship. A St. Kitts citizenship includes a passport, which allows for visa-free travel to over 140 countries. This feature means that you can travel across over 140 borders without government needing permission from a government. This part of the country’s citizenship program does a great deal to promote the free flow of people and ideas, something that is essential to the expansion of the division of labor and the subsequent free trade and increased standard of living the division of labor brings to a society.
While other countries have investment citizenship programs, St. Kitts’ is very quick and easy. You send your payment to the government and receive a decision on your citizenship status within 4 months. Additionally, you don’t need to be an actual resident of the country to receive a passport. You simply need to pay the required amount of money, either by investing in St. Kitts-Nevis real estate or by donating to the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation.
Now that the country accepts Bitcoin as payment, the citizenship process has become much easier. Since Bitcoin transactions are instant, payment can be received by the government much faster, which could possibly make the processing period for your citizenship much shorter in length. Not only could Bitcoin potentially make the process much faster, but it also makes the process much more anonymous. Before, you had to pay with government fiat money, which entailed either transporting a large amount of cash overseas or wiring the money through a bank. These methods always leave evidence of your activities, allowing your home government to track your transactions. But with Bitcoin, there is no evidence of the transaction outside of the blockchain, which only records transactions on an encrypted payment network between addresses that aren’t connected to your identity in any way. Now, with Bitcoin, you can purchase a passport that allows you to freely travel to a myriad of countries without your governments permission or knowledge.
Expanding Citizenship Enriches Liberty
This new citizenship program is a huge step towards liberty. Economics teaches us that free, unrestricted trade of people, goods, and ideas across borders constitutes the best way to spread the division of labor and increase the global standard of living. Governments often pass laws to restrict free trade for the sake of protecting domestic industry or under the guise of protecting citizens of poor countries from being exploited for profit by corporations.
In reality, foreign investment by corporations provides third-world countries with an opportunity to increase their material wealth, despite the often oppressive governments in those countries that adopt policies to enrich themselves at the expense of their citizens. Free trade can ease hunger and lift individuals and families out of poverty. For some reason, governments find it imperative to restrict free trade and all the benefits it brings to the global community. These protective policies neither protect domestic industry nor protect impoverished workers from exploitation.
When a government attempts to protect an industry from outsourcing, it merely prevents the progression of comparative advantage that comes with the division of labor. The policy might save a few domestic jobs, but it would be at the long term expense of the majority of the society. Additionally, that policy cuts off a line of revenue to the country that would have gained the growth in industry, thus preventing jobs from being created that would produce cheaper and more abundant products. Essentially, protective trade policies force consumers to pay a higher price for a smaller amount of goods, which are often lower in quality as well, and prevents the creation of jobs in other countries. The policies that were designed to protect prosperity actually end up creating an overall decrease in the global standard of living.
Bitcoin Promotes Voluntaryism Abroad
Bitcoin can change all of these broken government policies. Without the power to regulate it, governments cannot stop the growth of the international division of labor to any significant extent. With the wide acceptance of Bitcoin, all economic transactions will become voluntary. Consumers will be able to buy on the cheapest market, regardless of where the goods are made. On the other hand, we will have poor countries that will finally receive foreign investment from wealthy corporations, in the form of Bitcoin, and they will be able to lift themselves out of poverty and increase there standard of living. Bitcoin can achieve all of these things. The only thing standing in its way is its acceptance by the general population, which becomes more and more of a reality every day.
We can see the growing relevance of Bitcoin in the case of St. Kitts-Nevis’ decision to accept the crypto-currency as payment for their citizenship program. At the beginning of Bitcoin’s existence, we could only speculate and theorize how crypto-currencies could possibly change society, now we are seeing those theories play out in reality. Bitcoin enthusiasts have always said that the currency will promote liberty around the world; now, we are seeing a real world instance of Bitcoin facilitating open borders and free trade.
If you would like to learn more about the citizenship program of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, you can view the website here.