Over the last thirty years huge changes have occurred in the global financial industry, particularly with the rapid pace of development in the technology and information sectors. With each new change comes a new set of challenges, opportunities and costs. High net worth individuals such as cryptocurrency and tech entrepreneurs engaged in these areas must adapt to these changes, essentially in order to survive and thrive.
Cryptocurrency (such as Bitcoin)investors now face an increasing number of changes as governments alter and update regulations around the growing crypto market. With forward-thinking investors looking to shore-up their financial, residential and investment options, particularly those from Russia, China and Turkey, citizenship by investment is booming.
Uncertainty in any market can be damaging. Those who are best able to adapt to new laws regarding cryptocurrencies stand a better chance of weathering this uncertainty and prospering.How will such volatility affect the capacity to hold these assets? What’s going to happen with Brexit? What’s likely to happen within the banking system to affect the conversion of cryptocurrency into traditional currency or other assets?So whilst the strength of cryptocurrencies themselves is obviously important, it’s the wealthy individual’s home government dictating how their money can be used which is really vital; it’s just another reason why Bitcoin traders and other high net worth individuals might wish to distance themselves from a country they feel is trying too hard to financially control them. At the very least, they may well aim to keep another option in their back pocket – another country of residence and/or a second passport. By using second citizenship as a back-up plan, these individuals retain the option of ‘breaking free’ of one country in favour of another.
Governments across the world are currently working to enforce regulation of things like ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) that use cryptocurrencies tofund other enterprises. Some countries are not able to participate in certain ICOs because those operating the fundraising operation have set up certain exclusions. For example, it could be that they don’t want people with a particular citizenship or residence permit, or who have an address from a specific country. Over time, the investment of cryptocurrency into ICOs is likely to get harder, and high net worth individuals will want to mitigate this as much as possible.
The aforementioned uncertainty also has a strong influence on liquidity. With increasing regulations, what might banks do if a wealthy entrepreneur wants to cash out, especially if they have a ‘unfavourable’ citizenship?There are certainly plenty of ways to use cryptocurrencies which are unrelated to banks, but again, for individuals who wish to eventually own other assets, liquidity could well become a problem thanks to increased regulation.
The trouble with passports
Like most things in life, not all passports are created equal and some passports place a restriction on travelling to certain countries. Indeed the presence of particular stamps in a passport when entering a country can also bar entry for the holder (for example some Arab countries will not permit passports containing Israeli entry stamps).
Even the way in which a citizen of one country applies for a passport, and the time it takes to process, will vary depending on the country. Take Russia for example. Standard 5-year and 10-year laminated biometric passports take one to four months to be issued, depending on circumstances. If an application is made to a consulate outside of Russia it takes three months; a long time in the world of cryptocurrency. Some consulates even require an appointment to be made prior to the applicant being able to provide documents to support their passport application. In some cases, these appointments are only available many months or even years into the future, again making the process long and protracted.
Additionally, if a passport is lost or has expired, applications for the new passport could well not be accepted from someone who is abroad, before citizenship has been verified. The consuls in this case require a separate application to be made in person, again usually taking many months to sort out.
How can second citizenship by investment help?
High net worth Bitcoin investors and tech entrepreneurs can choose the route of citizenship by investment in another country, for example a Caribbean nation, in order to enjoy the opportunities and stability a second passport will bring. By making a one-off minimum investment into a country, or by purchasing pre-approved real estate, wealthy individuals then gain second citizenship of that country with all the benefits that entails.
Citizenship by investment offers global mobility alongside professional and personal freedom for successful applicants and their families. Citizenship of a participating Caribbean country means being able to work and live anywhere in the UK or EU (visa dependent), without the longer delays and restrictions. For people with ‘strong passports’ i.e.UK, EU, Australian or American passport holders – this is not something they need to worry about. For others, a ‘weaker’ passport can be a very stark barrier to success. Obtaining this second citizenship is a very good way to insure not only against your home country’s economic instability, but also war, political unrest or any other event that can potentially lead to displacement. For the increasing number of people for whom these are very real worries, citizenship by investment can offer valuable peace of mind.
High net worth individuals issued withsecond citizenships can essentially enjoy the freedom to leave their country of primary citizenship – financially as well as physically -if the worst should happen. As a serious crypto investor or tech entrepreneur, a defensive game plan in place is no bad thing. It can always be kept in their back pocket as a proactive strategy to ensure future success.
If you are interested in any aspect of citizenship by investment or would like to speak to our expert team, please do get in touch today. We will be pleased to assist in any way we can.