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St Kitts and Nevis: The crypto-friendly citizenship, trust, and banking paradise
By Alan Barker
What is the reason so many crypto investors are looking at the twin-island Federation of St Kitts and Nevis these days? The palm-fringed beaches are beautiful, the lifestyle is easy-going, the rum cocktails are famous… but there are also strong financial reasons. St Kitts and Nevis is an established (1984) asset protection haven that is fast gaining a reputation for seriously powerful protection for crypto assets. In this article, we will delve for Mundo readers into some of the offshore secrets of this Caribbean paradise.
Readers could be forgiven for not being familiar with the intricacies of one of the smallest countries in the world.
The “sister isles” form a federation of two states, each with its own distinct vibe, that are connected by a short water taxi or ferry crossing.
St Kitts, also known as St Christopher, is the bigger island. Some early bitcoin adopters went there about five years ago, attracted by the Citizenship by Investment program. The informal “Passports for Bitcoins” community was born and Bitcoin ATMs started popping up around the island. Besides this, St Kitts is a popular tourist destination and is home to several offshore med and veterinary schools.
Nevis, the smaller island of the Federation, is a boutique hideaway island where people enjoy the slow pace of life. Famous people and even British nobility like to hang out on Nevis because they won’t be noticed. But Nevis is also a discreet and successful offshore asset protection jurisdiction. Nevis entered the offshore finance business back in 1984. Asset protection lawyers in the US and beyond all agree that there are two countries on the globe with the most bulletproof asset protection laws and respect for personal property: the Cook Islands and Nevis.
Tiny Nevis has its own international financial services legislation independently of the Federal government based over on St Kitts (just like in the USA, for example, Wyoming and Nebraska don’t answer to Washington on local banking or trust matters).
But, when it comes to international relations, that is federal business. Neither St Kitts nor Nevis issue passports. There is only one St Kitts and Nevis passport. This coveted travel document is available within a few months to investors who pass the rigorous due diligence processes of the St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Unit. That is the government agency responsible for the second passport or economic citizenship program, and it is directly under the control of the Office of the Prime Minister.
Onshore and Offshore Bank Accounts in St Kitts and Nevis: What is the difference?
How does banking work in the twin-island federation? Very well, as it happens!
And even better, it is crypto-friendly. St Kitts is where the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) is based. ECCB issues and runs the local currency, the Eastern Caribbean Dollar or XCD. This is the official currency of a number of smaller states: Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. It also circulates in two British territories: Anguilla and Montserrat.
The ECCB regulates local banking across all those countries. Local banking is dominated by Canadian financial institutions, known to be rather conservative and definitely not crypto-friendly. The Canadians are gradually pulling out of the Caribbean leaving local banks with a bigger share of the market.
What is interesting, though, is that there is a separate set of regulations for banks targeting the international market. Offshore banks in Nevis, for example, have nothing to do with St Kitts nor the ECCB! They are subject to local regulation in Nevis, as well as international standards and norms of course.
These offshore or international banks are not allowed to be involved in local ECCB-regulated retail banking. Neither would they want to be, since they operate on a completely different level, with VIP Clients of the type who still fly in on private jets. They like to remain discreet and keep high minimum opening balances, six figures and upwards, to keep out the riff-raff. Sometimes, however, exceptions can be made to these minimum balance requirements if you have a good introducer, such as Mundo, who has personal connections on the islands.
There are no international banks on St Kitts, but there are three offshore banks currently licensed on Nevis. Although they provide most services you would expect of an international private bank, and there is no requirement to be a citizen or resident, one of their main focuses these days is individuals and wealthy families who have obtained or are in the process of obtaining citizenship of St Kitts and Nevis under the Federation’s highly-successful Citizenship by Investment Program.
The good news is that offshore banks on Nevis are crypto-friendly. They are open to receiving dollars from reputable crypto exchanges or crypto-friendly banks. They also offer escrow services to make real estate and passport business safer for all concerned.
As smart readers will have figured out by now, this means you can do everything in one place:
- Asset protection trust and LLC: The Nevis Exempt Trust and LLC combo is the strongest asset protection structure in the world. Your Nevis trust will own one or more LLCs (sometimes clients like to keep different projects ring-fenced in different LLCs, again for extra-strong asset protection). Your LLC is the visible operating arm whose name appears on the bank or brokerage accounts. Nevis doesn’t have a public register of shareholders or ultimate beneficial owners, so privacy is sacrosanct. Your Trust, meanwhile, remains behind the scenes, covering your inheritance and succession requirements and protecting your crypto, fiat, and real estate assets from undesirable elements.
- Offshore crypto-friendly bank account: Your Nevis offshore Trust and LLC combo can open bank accounts worldwide: popular jurisdictions include Switzerland, USA, Singapore, etc. But to avoid spreading your personal financial data more widely than necessary, a crypto-friendly bank account in Nevis is best. It is also the fastest option. Via our connections here at Mundo, we can get accounts opened sometimes in as little as 24 hours for locally-registered trusts and companies.
- Passport by investment: Your citizenship by investment is the best insurance policy you can ever buy, and you don’t have to pay yearly premiums! It will continue to offer benefits for the rest of your life – and literally beyond: you can pass these benefits to your kids and their kids. As a new citizen of St Kitts and Nevis, it is entirely up to you if you want to become a tax resident of the Federation. There are no personal taxes anyway, but tax residence can have its benefits as you will know if you deal with banks in other countries. The real estate route to Citizenship by Investment is the best way to establish long-term substance on the island, creating a real connection instantly. If you choose to make St Kitts and Nevis your full-time base of operations, you legally avoid, just like that, any reporting to your home country by the local banks. The only exception is if your home country is the USA – in that case, renunciation of your US citizenship would be necessary in order to achieve the full tax benefit.
Remember, while both St Kitts and Nevis are great places to hang out, depending on your preferred vibe – citizenship, asset protection, and the bank account can be achieved within a few months without ever having to get on a plane. The asset protection and banking benefits can even start kicking in without needing to wait for the citizenship to be approved.
Everything about your new business, financial and life plan is fully compliant if done properly. (Read that last part again – it’s worth the small fee to consult with a knowledgeable and properly qualified expert) Recently, the European Union and the OECD gave St Kitts and Nevis a clean bill of health and confirmed that they comply with all required international norms. Dominica, on the other hand, was blacklisted at the same time.
Mundo Experts are at your service if you would like to immediately acquire this high-powered trust, banking, and citizenship package in St Kitts and Nevis. Don’t delay – contact us to book a consultation with our recommended St Kitts and Nevis expert.
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