El Salvador’s crypto Freedom visa programme expected to sell out

credit: Shutterstock
credit: Shutterstock

El Salvador’s Freedom Visa programme is expected to sell out before the end of the year, according to the country’s National Bitcoin Office (ONBTC). 

The programme enables visa citizenship into El Salvador to 1,000 applicants as long as they are willing to donate up to $1m worth of Bitcoin or Tether, mainly attracting the wealthier cryptocurrency investors to the country. 

Having launched the programme on 7 December, ONBTC told Cointelegraph that it has already received “many dozens of applications” online and in-person, and expects the programne to be fully booked up. 

The official from ONBTC also revealed that the 1,000 set list of slots to the Freedom Visa programne is an annual recurring figure. 

In comparison to similar monetary citizenship programnes, with Malta offering a $810,000 fee and other Caribbean countries starting their fees at $100,000, many market analysts believe that the $1m El Salvador is asking for may be too steep. 

However, recognising that the country is the first and only Bitcoin official country, the ONBTC spokesperson told Cointelegraph that if anything, the fee is “underpriced”. 

The spokesperson said: “If anything, in fact, it is actually underpriced. While there are many citizenship programnes available in the world, there is only one Bitcoin country,”

The country is banking on the fact that Bitcoin has been an official legal tender since September 2021, when President Nayib Bukele passed it as law, and has become a hotspot and famous for its push to become a viable crypto hub. 

There are no taxes linked to the cryptocurrency and was included as legal tender to boost financial inclusion as many El Salvadorians reside in the US and can access crypto wallets as an alternative payment method.

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