El Salvador expects to sell out Bitcoin ‘Freedom Visa’ by end of year

El Salvador’s National Bitcoin Office says its $1 million Freedom Visa program has already received hundreds of inquiries since its launch on Dec. 7, and expects it to fully sell out before the end of this year.

In emailed comments to Cointelegraph, a spokesperson for El Salvdor’s National Bitcoin Office (ONBTC) said that it had received hundreds of inquiries and “many dozens of applications” both online and in person at its embassies and consulates.

Launched by the El Salvador government on Dec. 7 in partnership with stablecoin issuer Tether, the Freedom Visa is a citizenship-by-donation program that grants a residency visa and pathway to citizenship for 1,000 people willing to put down a $1 million Bitcoin (BTC) or Tether (USDT) donation towards the country.

The ONBTC spokesperson clarified that the program is limited to a total of 1,000 slots per calendar year.

However, market commentators such as Altana Digital Currency CIO Alistair Milne described El Salvador’s million-dollar visa program as “uncompetitive” when considered next to those offered by countries like Malta which tout full European citizenship for $810,000.

However, the National Bitcoin Office says the $1 million price tag for the Freedom visa was more than fair.

“If anything, in fact, it is actually underpriced. While there are many citizenship programs available in the world, there is only one Bitcoin Country,’ the spokesperson said.

Related: El Salvador’s Bitcoin bond gets regulatory approval, targets Q1 launch

Despite the high price tag relative to other visa programs, the numerous pro-Bitcoin policies and incentives established by President Nayib Bukele over the past few years could be enticing to Bitcoiners looking for a sea change.

In Sept. 2021, Bukele recognized Bitcoin as legal tender and removed all capital gains taxes for Bitcoin investors. He later scrapped all forms of taxation for tech and crypto firms that chose to set up operations in the country.  

Bukele stepped down as president on Dec. 1 to focus on his reelection campaign ahead of the country’s general election in February 2024.

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