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Is Eastern Caribbean a Good Place to Move to for Crypto Enthusiasts?by@ilinskii
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Is Eastern Caribbean a Good Place to Move to for Crypto Enthusiasts?

by Ilia IlinskiiMarch 15th, 2024
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Caribbean countries may be a great place to move in for crypto community.
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Caribbean countries are famous for their good living conditions - beautiful climate, nature and cheerful atmosphere. However, this is not their only advantage. Few people know, but several countries in the region were the first in the world together with China and Nigeria to issue a national digital currency - the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (XCD). It was done by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), a common Central Bank for several Caribbean countries. It unites 6 independent states - St. Kitts Nevis, Grenada, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia and two British overseas territories - Anguilla and Montesserat. All members of the monetary union also belong to a supranational entity, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). Also the associated members of OECS are British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Martinique and Guadeloupe.

Investment citizenship programs

Issuance of CBDC in the form of XCD is not only one thing which makes Eastern Carribean interesting for crypto community. If you search in the web information about Grenada or St. Kitts Navis, you will find ads of their passports. Indeed, most countries of the region have investment programs that allow members to get citizenship. The first country that launched it was St. Kitts Nevis in 1984. Later all other Eastern Carribean countries joined the club. Except St. Vincent and the Grenadines - there is no such program there.


Investment programs for citizenship in the Eastern Caribbean are much cheaper than the gold visas of European countries. To obtain citizenship under the investment program you need to donate an amount of $100,000-$150,000 to public funds or buy real estate for $250,000 or more. Such conditions of programs in St. Lucia, Antigua, Dominica and Grenada. For a passport St. Kitts and Nevis minimal amount to donate is significantly higher - $250,000. But the latter country is famous as the place where Bitcoin Cash founder and crypto-entrepreneur Roger Ver virtually moved to in 2014 and has become St. Kitts Nevis resident. Another famous St. Kitts Nevis passport holder is Telegram founder Pavel Durov, who has invested $250,000 in country’s economy since leaving Russia in 2014. This messenger actively uses the cryptocurrency TON.

What about crypto regulation?

Almost all of these countries have crypto regulation and this fact makes them an interesting place to move in for crypto community. The ECCB has developed a common crypto-regulatory platform for member countries. St. Kitts Nevis and Antigua were the first to adopt it in 2020. St. Vincent and the Grenadines passed the law in May 2022, Dominica in June 2022, and St. Lucia in December 2022.


Grenada is the only one of the 6 countries of the Eastern Caribbean, where there is still no law on cryptocurrency, but in 2021 the founder of TRON and owner of HTX crypto exchange Justin Sun became representative of the island state in the WTO. However, after the SEC has started a court case against Justin, Grenada recalled the ambassador. Actually Justin Sun is a citizen of Grenada too.


All these laws are similar - there is a definition of cryptocurrency and it is allowed to legally provide crypto exchange and other operations with it. There is also such a basic legal term defined by FATF AML rules for crypto as VASP (Virtual Asset Service Provider), i.e. a company that performs transactions with cryptocurrency. According to the laws adopted in each of the five countries, such companies must be registered with the local regulator and/or Financial Intelligence Unit, if they perform the following operations:


  • Exchange between virtual currencies
  • Exchange of virtual currency to fiat currency
  • Storage of virtual currencies
  • Virtual currency transfers
  • Issue of virtual currencies (ICOs)


So, if you do any business in the field of crypto and blockchain, you can think about these countries as jurisdictions for doing business. TRON and HTX are already actively doing this - they have created a special service in Dominica. It allows HTX users to remotely issue a digital identity card through the Dominica DID (decentralized identity program).

Taxation

By the way, I would like to elaborate on such an issue as taxation in these countries - tax rates are lower than in most EU countries and there are no taxes on investments and dividends from foreign sources. For instance, Antigua has abolished income tax in 2016, but employees of local companies and self-employed continue to pay social payments at the rate of 15%. In general, residency in any Eastern Caribbean country can seriously reduce the tax burden, especially for people receiving capital income or dividends. Based on my research, most of these countries have no capital gain tax, at least for overseas income. However, it is better to understand the details of each jurisdiction with local accountant.

Visas and residence permits

If you are not interested in citizenship, but would like to live in the Eastern Caribbean for a while - for example, working remotely - then 4 of these countries have the following options:


In addition, it is possible to come to these countries without a visa for 90 days as a tourist.

Conclusion

By the way, I’d like to call four key benefits that you can get moving to Carribean:


  • Good climate and life quality
  • Presence of crypto regulation
  • Attractive immigration programs
  • Relatively low tax burden