Technology

‘Freedom Visa’: What is El Salvador’s New Plan to Boost Tourism, Revenue Via BTC

El Salvador, the country that historically became the first in the world to ordain Bitcoin as a legal tender, has created a plan to boost its tourism industry and subsequently its economy in due time. The National Bitcoin Office (ONBTC) of the central American nation has announced a new initiative called the Freedom Visa. The development comes after a long silence from El Salvador, that is currently working to develop a tax-free, volcano-powered Bitcoin city.

The Freedom Visa is a donation-based citizenship programme. Through this, El Salvador will grant a residency visa to those willing to donate a million-dollar worth of Bitcoin or Tether into the national treasury. To do so, the Salvadoran government has partnered with stablecoin issuer Tether, it said in an official announcement earlier this month.

Each year, the country will give out only a thousand slots, the government under President Nayib Bukele has decided. The country is looking to leverage its status as a pro-Bitcoin nation, to propel its special citizenship visa plan to the masses.

“Based on the current level of interest, we expect the program to sell out by the end of the year. If anything, in fact, it is actually underpriced. While there are many citizenship programs available in the world, there is only one Bitcoin country,” a CoinTelegraph report quoted the ONBTC as saying in an email conversation.

Reacting to the development, market analyst Alistair Milne called the Salvadoran initiative rather ‘uncompetitive’ comparing to other similar initiatives. Milne is the chief investment officer of Altana Digital Currency Fund.

It’s now a matter of time before the programme unfolds and we see how lucrative it ended up becoming and whether or not there will be a next edition to it.

El Salvador recently approved Bitcoin bonds that are set to be offered on Bitfinex Securities, a regulated division of crypto exchange Bitfinex, starting early 2024.

The so-called ‘Volcano bonds’ were announced in 2021. With a minimum investment of $100 (roughly Rs. 8,170), El Salvador residents will be able to enter Volcano Bonds — that will add to the nation’s economy. Any appreciation in Bitcoin’s values will be shared with the bond holders.

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