Adults In El Salvador To Get $30 In Bitcoin As Nation Unveils Details To Make Crypto Legal Tender

Adults In El Salvador To Get $30 In Bitcoin As Nation Unveils Details To Make Crypto Legal Tender

Topline

Every adult citizen in El Salvador will receive $30 worth of bitcoin when they download and register the government’s cryptocurrency app, President Nayib Bukele announced late Thursday as he unveiled details on how the nation would become the first to make bitcoin legal tender.

Key Facts

In a national address Thursday, Bukele revealed the “bitcoin law” would come into effect on September 7.

The president addressed widespread concerns that bitcoin use might become mandatory in El Salvador—which will continue to use the U.S. dollar as legal tender—reassuring citizens the “use of bitcoin will be optional,” Reuters reported.

Salaries and pensions will continue to be paid in dollars, he said, and anyone being paid in bitcoin “can choose to automatically receive it in dollars.”

Bukele said the adoption of bitcoin as legal tender would not be the same as when El Salvador adopted the dollar and bank accounts converted the former currency of colóns, to dollars.

Bukele reiterated that one of the key drivers of the law is to help people sending remittances back to El Salvador, as the payments typically suffer from high transaction and commission costs.

Key Background

The U.S. dollar has been the official currency in El Salvador since 2001, which bitcoin will join, not replace, as legal tender. The decision to adopt the cryptocurrency as legal tender—a world first—was met with both trepidation and excitement around the world. For enthusiasts, it was a sign of things to come, and numerous lawmakers around the world have expressed support for fostering widespread use of digital currencies. Skeptics, meanwhile, voiced concerns over transparency, the environmental impact of bitcoin, and the practicalities of implementing it on the ground. El Salvador’s ambitious three month timeline to implement the law, which Bukele’s statement suggests is unchanged, was imperiled in mid June when the World Bank rejected the country’s request to help it implement the crypto as legal tender, citing risks to the environment and of financial crime.

Further Viewing

Bukele’s presentation, in Spanish, was streamed:

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