New Digital Residency Law Passed in Palau

March 15, 2024

Palau is an island nation in the western Pacific Ocean, consisting of more than 500 islands. The capital and the seat of the government is Melekeok on the island of Babeldaob.

From the beginning of 2022, the island state of Palau is offering a digital residency based on blockchain technology to everyone in the world.

"As a digital resident of Palau, you get a digital identity paired with a real physical ID that is increasingly recognized around the world – all backed by a genuine sovereign state that values freedom.

Palau Digital Residency is based on RNS (Root Name System), a Web3 identity protocol that focuses on providing digital residency to people around the world. Based on blockchain technology, it offers a digital “residency programme” that also gives all citizens of the world access to economic freedom.

It is the world’s first Web3 digital identity platform developed to support the application and issuance of sovereignty-based IDs. It offers any citizen of the world the possibility to obtain a legal identity document from the comfort of their own home, including both a physical and a digital ID for online services.

Palau’s goal is to lay a foundation for digital life. This does not necessarily mean being settled somewhere or living in a country. Digital life also means doing everything digitally.

President Surangel Whipps junior signed the Digital Residency Identification bill into law. Palau is a tourism-depended nation and its revenues has been severely affected from the Covid-19 pandemic. The President Whipps junior sees the new law "as an opportunity to diversify the economy."

"He thinks that it will attract non-citizens to apply for digital ID which will cost a $US100 per ID but there's also a fee for applications which is $50."

However, the new legislation doesn't provide automatic citizenship to non-residents. But without a physical address you can apply for a digital residency ID, you can open digital accounts, you can start with a physical mailing address, and start with a phone number.

The new law will allow non-citizens to be digital residents of Palau. It doesn't mean that you have to physically reside here. The law is also not equivalent to having the same rights and privileges as a citizen. "In the first place if you don't have Palauan blood you cannot be a Palauan citizen. It's not equivalent to rights as a resident.

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