Bitcoin now a form of legal tender in El Salvador


For years, the rise of cryptocurrency has been almost impossible to ignore. However, part of that comes down to the fact that everyone knows someone who believes they are a crypto expert. The problem is that for many people Bitcoin is either something they do not understand, or do not trust. Until something becomes mainstream, the average person on the street often has little interest in following along. Despite that, Bitcoin in particular has enjoyed incredible growth from its formation to the point where many see it as the future currency of the world – or at least something like it.

However, the fact that a nation – El Salvador – has now adopted Bitcoin as legal tender might get tongues wagging. President Nayib Bukele put across the proposal to his country, and it was agreed to be ushered in by lawmakers since. Some experts, though, see it as nothing more than ‘political marketing’ while others believe it could herald in an era where cryptocurrency is no longer seen as a fringe investment.

The Central American nation, though, becomes the first country in the world to adopt Bitcoin as a genuine legal tender. This means that the country is also the first to, as the President put it, embrace “financial inclusion” in a way that other nations simply would not. Bukele is a former mayor and has a long history of working well with the media, so his opponents quickly point to this being another media-savvy move that could pay off for him in the long term. Others, though, believe it’s a smart move to separate the country from others.

He is also known for having genuine tech savvy, and having a better understanding of cryptocurrency than many of the others in government elsewhere in the world.

What does this mean for El Salvador?

You can still use their normal legal tender, the US dollar, without any real issue. However, within the next 90 days, it will now be law that you can also pay for things with Bitcoin. Fears that it would mean doing away with normal dollar currencies is not the case; you can now choose to use one, or both, to pay for your goods and your products.

The vote itself passed with 62 votes out of 84, making it a pretty strong landslide victory. However, opponents point out that El Salvadoran government is controlled by the ruling party and allies of the President himself.

However, this will now mean that everything – even taxes – can now be paid for by using cryptocurrency. It’s a highly exciting experience, and it will mean that companies will also, technology allowing, be forced to accept someone trying to pay with Bitcoin as legal tender.

With talk that El Salvador is still trying to agree on financial packages worth over $1bn with the IMF, though, this move does raise some intriguing questions. For cryptocurrency advocates, though, this is a very interesting day – the first nation in the world to treat cryptocurrency as anything other than an intriguing oddity.