El Salvador’s legislature voted this week to accept Bitcoin as legal tender alongside the US dollar, which is the country’s official currency. Under the law, Bitcoin must be accepted by firms when offered as payment for goods and services. Tax contributions can also be paid in the cryptocurrency. El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele is promoting a bitcoin mining hub around the country’s geothermal potential from its volcanoes. He also advocates for Bitcoin to be used for remittances that accounted for about $6 billion in 2019 that was 20% of the country’s GDP. Around 70% of Salvadorans do not have bank accounts. Bitcoin rose on the news as much as 6% to $35,200.
Some critics say that El Salvador’s acceptance of a competing currency is a hedge against the US dollar that has massively increased its money supply, which causes inflation.
El Salvador became the first country in the world to adopt bitcoin as legal tender after Congress on Wednesday approved President Nayib Bukele’s proposal to embrace the cryptocurrency, a move that delighted the currency’s supporters.
With 62 out of 84 possible votes, lawmakers voted in favor of the move to create a law to adopt bitcoin, despite concern about the potential impact on El Salvador’s program with the International Monetary Fund.
Bukele has touted the use of bitcoin for its potential to help Salvadorans living abroad to send remittances back home, while saying the U.S. dollar will also continue as legal tender. In practice, El Salvador does not have its own currency.
“It will bring financial inclusion, investment, tourism, innovation and economic development for our country,” Bukele said in a tweet shortly before the vote in Congress, which is controlled by his party and allies.
In an idea he appeared to have developed overnight, Bukele later said he had instructed state-owned geothermal electric firm LaGeo to develop a plan to offer bitcoin mining facilities using renewable energy from the country’s volcanoes. read more
He said the idea was to build a bitcoin mining hub around the country’s geothermal potential. He also said that El Salvador would offer citizenship to people who showed evidence they had invested in at least three bitcoins.
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