On December 7, Tether, in collaboration with the government of El Salvador, announced the "Adopting El Salvador Freedom Visa Programme''. This one allows people to acquire a visa and claim citizenship by investing $1 million in Bitcoin (BTC) or Tether USD (USDT). The government aims to attract up to 1,000 participants annually and generate revenues of up to $1 billion for the country's development.
Details and goals of the new Salvador crypto-for-visa programme
Bitcoin has held the status of legal tender in El Salvador since September 2021. With this new initiative, anyone can get an "El Salvador Freedom Visa". First, individuals need to submit a non-refundable deposit of $999 along with the application. Then, participants must invest $1 million in BTC or USDT into the country’s budget.
The programme is designed for 1,000 participants each year. Thus, El Salvador will be able to attract up to $1 billion into the economy for "economic development, cultural enrichment, and social programmes".
Why Adopting El Salvador Freedom Visa Program may be of interest
Along with offering a "Bitcoin lifestyle" in the land of economic freedom, and the potential to shape the future, the new programme by El Salvador also offers the following features according to the official website:
🚸 Applicants can include one spouse and all children under 18 years of age;
🌎 El Salvador is one of the safest countries in the region and "the ark of freedom in Central America";
🌴 El Salvador is a beautiful country that has the potential to become "a global epicentre for Bitcoin, technology, and personal freedom".
Selling citizenship: other countries’ experience
According to migration consultancy firm Henley & Partners, similar practices exist in El Salvador's Caribbean neighbours — Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, and Saint Lucia — where similar offers start at $100,000, which is much cheaper.
Alistair Milne, founder of cryptocurrency hedge fund Altana Digital Currency, wrote in X that El Salvador's offer is "uncompetitive in the global market", and noted the possibility of buying citizenship in an EU country for less money. For example, for an investment of $810,000, you can get citizenship in Malta.
However, these countries may not be as attractive to crypto investors because of the lack of opportunity to invest with cryptocurrencies and generally non-crypto-friendly regulations. Thus, with an initiative like this, El Salvador continues to accumulate BTC and is trying to attract large whales to the country.
El Salvador's investment in Bitcoin profitability
According to nayibtracker.com, a website that tracks El Salvador's Bitcoin purchases, the country has 2,769 Bitcoins on its balance sheet with an average purchase of $42,435. See more about the timing and price of the purchases in the screenshot of the chart below.
As a reminder, on November 17, 2022, the president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, promised to buy 1 Bitcoin per day. For now, with Bitcoin's current price around $42,300, El Salvador's investment is at a loss of $640,000.
Compared to Microstrategy, which is also actively accumulating Bitcoins, Salvador's current results are not impressive. According to saylortracker.com, the company owns 174,530 Bitcoins with an average purchase price of $30,512.
In this case, it should be noted that Microstrategy started accumulating BTC much earlier. Thus, its head, Michael Saylor, reported the first purchase in September 2020. At that time, Bitcoin’s rate was about $11,600.
However, keep in mind that this tracker only relies on the words of the country’s president on X. El Salvador's Bitcoin addresses are unknown, so we cannot know the exact balance.
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