Latin American Economy & Business Report

07/2021 - El Salvador’s bitcoin adventure raises concerns

President Nayib Bukele is moving ahead with plans to make the cryptocurrency, bitcoin, legal tender in El Salvador despite concerns at home and abroad.

At the beginning of June, El Salvador passed legislation adopting bitcoin as legal tender alongside the US dollar, the country’s official currency. President Bukele said using bitcoin would give the country access to a secure, efficient, and globally integrated electronic payments system, which would also allow the roughly 2m expatriate Salvadorean workers to send home remittances without paying bank charges. Bukele also said the move would improve financial inclusion in a country where around 70% of the population doesn’t have a bank account and works in the informal economy.

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