El Salvador’s Bitcoin Law is due to be implemented on September 7th making Bitcoin legal tender in the Latin American nation. As the first country to make Bitcoin legal tender, El Salvador faces mounting pressure to make their Bitcoin Law a success, as the watchful eyes of other countries scrutinise this move. Protests within the nation have added fuel to the fire, sparking concerns over the adoption of this currency in El Salvador.
As El Salvador counts down the days until the Bitcoin Law is implemented, making it the first country in the world to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender, a handful of protests have broken out, despite the fact that finance minister, Alejandro Zelaya, stated that citizens would not be forced to accept BTC as a form of payment.
The proposal to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender was announced by Bukele via recorded message at a bitcoin conference in June. One of the key reasons given was that Bitcoin would facilitate greater financial inclusion to the many Salvadorans currently living outside of the formal economy. Additionally Bukele noted that this would increase the ease with which nationals living outside of the country could send remittances back home.
Despite the statements by Bukele, that Bitcoin will boost the economy through “financial inclusion, investment, tourism, innovation and economic development”, many are less than trustful of the promises being handed out by the ex marketing exec, seeing it as a rushed attempt to push forward the agenda of the president, without a stringent accountability process.
The Guardian newspaper recorded the views of a number of Salvadorans who were skeptical of the Bitcoin Law. Father José María Tojeira, director of the Human Rights Institute at the University of Central America noted that bitcoin is still out of reach for many citizens due to the technical capacity required to access it:
“The decision is rather incomprehensible. It seems more about making a show – which is a characteristic of this government: lots of propaganda, but few structural changes to help the impoverished population,”
However, cryptocurrency proponents argue that in a nation like El Salvador, citizens can truly benefit from Bitcoin, as a way to protect themselves from hyperinflation and economic turbulence that has historically plagued many Latin American nations.
The country’s leader has been marked as a pioneer by some, and as a risk-taker by others. Nonetheless, the results of Nayib Bukele’s determination for El Salvador to successfully integrate cryptocurrency into its economy, will make the young President’s legacy a memorable one.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.