The Salvadoran government has announced a visa program that will give foreigners a passport and residency if they invest $1 million in Bitcoin or Tether in the small Central American country.
According to a government webpage, the Freedom Visa program is aimed at wealthy individuals and investors who want to take part in “the effort to build the nation of the future.”
El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele also posted an announcement on X (formerly Twitter) on Thursday. The program is partnered with Tether, the company behind the stablecoin USDT.
The government website states: “El Salvador is reborn as a country of economic freedom. But this is just the beginning. Together, let's build the future you want to see.”
El Salvador's idea is what is known as the so-called “golden visa” program. Countries around the world, such as Spain, Portugal, and Ireland, grant visas to those who make generous investments.
Stablecoin issuer Tether on Thursday Said He said the program will help establish El Salvador as a “dynamic global center of cutting-edge technology and financial innovation.”
The company's USDT product is the most traded cryptocurrency and is pegged to the US dollar, making it a widely used digital token for traders.
Tether has previously worked with the Salvadoran government, helping turn Lugano, Switzerland into a cryptocurrency hub, and investing $1 billion in the country for a renewable energy Bitcoin mining project.
The visa scheme invites 1,000 applicants per year to raise $1 million in virtual currency donations to the nation, which will be used to support “economic development, cultural It will be used for “enrichment and social programs.”
Applicants will be given a passport and residency rights.
El Salvador made Bitcoin its legal tender in 2021. Companies are legally required to accept cryptocurrencies if they have the technical means.
The country's president, Nayib Bukele, came up with the idea and even used the country's coffers to buy virtual coins. His ideas have been condemned by the US government and economists. And when the BRC-20 token surged in popularity on the Bitcoin network in May, some suggested that Salvadorans might no longer be able to use the asset for everyday transactions.
But Bukele took a victory lap on social media earlier this week, saying that Bitcoin's recent rally has helped put El Salvador's holdings back into the black. Although the introduction of Bitcoin has been controversial, there is no doubt that Bukele is a popular leader. Salvadorans praise Bukele for cleaning up the country, which was once rife with crime and murder.
However, human rights organizations criticized him Amnesty International this week cited “extremely repressive security policies and a weakening of the rule of law” and a harsh crackdown on gangs.
Edited by Stacey Elliott.