Look el salvador bitcoin: A year after El Salvador made Bitcoin legal tender, things dont look good

Look el salvador bitcoin

Look el salvador bitcoin

“We get the big things done,” he boasted to the House of Commons, choosing to ignore the fact that the line was initiated under a Labour prime minister and a Labour mayor of London. But crypto advocates say Bitcoin is just the first step into a bigger world of alternative financial services that could facilitate receiving remittances from abroad — which Salvadorans increasingly rely upon — and attract investors. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which is considering a separate financing deal with El Salvador, have said that adopting Bitcoin could leave a country open to money laundering and other illicit financial activity. The development of Bitcoin and thousands of other cryptocurrencies in a little over a decade has changed the definition of money and is transforming financial services, leaving officials around the world scrambling to catch up. President Nayib Bukele has promoted the cryptocurrency as a path to financial freedom, but economic experts and many Salvadorans worry the move brings great risks. The government has an unrealized paper loss on bitcoin of around $60 million, according to sources, including bitcoin company Coinkite, which track the president’s public announcements of bitcoin purchases.

In an attempt to popularize and regularize its use, the government gave citizens financial incentives to download a special cryptocurrency app. After the 2021–2022 cryptocurrency crash, bitcoin lost 70% of the value it had in November 2021. By this time, Bukele spent about US$150 million, or roughly 4% of El Salvador’s national reserves, to invest in Bitcoin. According to BBC, the 2,300 bitcoins purchased by the Salvadoran government had lost 50% of their value. El Salvador’s economic growth rate declined during this time, and many economists predicted it had a high chance of defaulting on its debt. In response to these issues, Bukele decreased public funding, which resulted in the reduction of water infrastructure and public services in some municipalities.

According to the Deutsche Bank report from September, part of the reason bitcoin transfers haven’t caught on has to do with the complications of buying and selling bitcoin for dollars. Jack Mallers is a 28-year-old CEO from Chicago who developed an app called “Strike,” designed to disrupt one of the biggest businesses in El Salvador – remittances, money sent from overseas. Last year, Salvadorans received more than $7 billion through services like Western Union, which can charge upwards of 10% for a transfer that can take days. Using bitcoin’s digital infrastructure, known as “rails,” the Strike app allows users to send U.S. dollars across borders instantly, for pennies. Rating agencies,including Fitch, have knocked down El Salvador’s credit score, citing the uncertainty of the country’s financial future given the adoption of bitcoin as legal tender. That means that it’s now even more expensive for Bukele to borrow much-needed cash.

The donation came with the stipulation that the village adopt a circular economy based on bitcoin. Many residents in El Zonte did not have access to banking services, and accessed bitcoin through mobile devices and Bitcoin ATMs in commercial areas. The village has since become known as “Bitcoin Beach”, and has been cited as an example of using cryptocurrency as legal tender by advocates of bitcoin. As of 2022, Honduras and Guatemala had also made attempts to attract tourists through the use of bitcoin in “bitcoin hubs.” El Salvador became the first country in the world to use Bitcoin as legal tender, after having been adopted as such by the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador in 2021.

Salvadorans will also be able to withdraw funds in cash from 200 ATMs and 50 consulting centers across the country, according to Mr. Bukele. CONCHAGUA, El Salvador, Sept 7 – A year after El Salvador adopted bitcoin as legal tender, the area where the world’s first cryptocurrency city was meant to be built – a circular metropolis powered by a volcano – is still dense jungle. “They” or “the boys” is how Luís refers to the gangs, the criminal mafias that brutalized lives for more than 30 years in the country’s poorest neighborhoods through extortion, kidnapping, rape and murder. They turned El Salvador into one of the most violent countries in the world. All this pain has been ebbing slowly during President Nayib Bukele’s savage war on gangs launched just over a year ago.

The Economist

Residents didn’t need a bank account or a credit card to make transactions, only a mobile phone with internet access, something two-thirds of residents had. His hope was to turn El Salvador into the premier destination for global crypto investment, bolster the nation’s economy, and plug more of its unbanked population into the financial system. In other words, it’s peer- to-peer digital money, there isn’t a bank or third party in the middle. Banks have never really been part of the equation for most Salvadorans – about 70% of the country is unbanked. That means they have limited access to loans, mortgages or credit cards. Cash has always been king, which made convincing people in El Zonte to work for bitcoin, a currency they couldn’t hold or see, especially difficult.

Look el salvador bitcoin

He came to El Zonte because it’s one of the first places in the world you can use bitcoin to pay for just about anything – tamales, hotels or souvenirs. A sign showing that Bitcoin is accepted at a store in El Zonte, El Salvador, last week. Naotoshi Yamasaki, a surfer, said Bitcoin ATMs can be quickly depleted of dollars, but overall the project has worked. Julio Ramirez, a tailor who receives remittances from his daughters living in the U.S., at his shop in Colon, El Salvador, last week. But now, Bitcoin City is on hold, as is the $1 billion bitcoin bond sale, which was initially put on ice in March because of unfavorable market conditions. Thetourism industry is up 30%since the Bitcoin Law took effect, according to official government estimates.

In 2021, the president decreed Bitcoin as a legal tender in El Salvador. When we visited a fried chicken chain store and a coffee shop in downtown San Salvador, neither had the government-approved system for handling Bitcoin payments. “It’s a very expensive system, so my boss hasn’t done it,” said an employee. The only solid number available is the $200 million initial outlay for the Bitcoin program. Beyond a few presidential tweets announcing Bitcoin purchases, the country’s exact investment in the cryptocurrency is unknown. International organizations have warned about the program’s risk to the country’s public finances and potential bankruptcy, especially after the value of Bitcoin plunged by over 40% last year.

El Salvador may turn to China to buy its foreign debt, if a potential free-trade deal is struck. The country has lost $65m, or two-thirds, of the $105m the social-media obsessed leader has shelled out on the cryptocurrency. He also claims that the fall is no big deal as it represents 0.2% of GDP. The president upped the ante in November when he announcedplans to build a “Bitcoin City”next door to the Conchagua volcano in southeastern El Salvador.

Under the law, transactions in bitcoin are not subject to capital gains tax, and foreign bitcoin investors who invest over ₿3 in the country are eligible for permanent residence. Many international financial experts warned that bitcoin’s volatility would introduce unnecessary risk and instability to El Salvador’s underdeveloped economy. In July 2021, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the credit rating of El Salvador, citing Bukele’s fiscal policies and the adoption of bitcoin as a factor. On June 5, 2021 President of El Salvador Nayib Bukele announced a bill to adopt bitcoin as legal tender in El Salvador, via an English-language video at Bitcoin Conference 2021 in Miami.

The system was also plagued by identity theft, which resulted in the theft of sign-on bonuses. Shortly after launch, Chivo announced that it was changing its pricing features to prevent scalping, which led to further complaints over the difficulty of day trading on Chivo and pricing discrepancies. The Act authorized the free circulation of the United States dollar in El Salvador, and removed the colón from circulation.

Both JPMorgan and the International Monetary Fund warn the country is on an unsustainable path, with gross financing needs set to surpass 15% of GDP from 2022 forward — and public debt on track to hit 96% of GDP by 2026 under current policies. “Big chains like McDonald’s, Starbucks, and most merchants at a mall will accept bitcoin — but are people using it? Not too much locally,” he said. “It will bring financial inclusion, investment, tourism, innovation and economic development for our country,” President Bukele said in a tweet shortly before the vote. Congress approved President Nayib Bukele’s proposal to embrace the cryptocurrency, with 62 out of 84 possible votes on Tuesday night.

Data from Bloomberg Economics shows that El Salvador tops its ranking of emerging market countries that are vulnerable to a debt default. It has been a rocky time, with the project not living up to the grand promises made by the country’s popular and outspoken president Nayib Bukele. The use of bitcoin in El Salvador appears to be low amid the market volatility. El Salvador has lost around $60 million on its bitcoin bet one year into a nationwide crypto experiment. The president said the government had made history, and that the move would make it easier for Salvadoreans living abroad to send money home.


The adoption of bitcoin as legal tender in El Salvador drew criticism both internationally, and within El Salvador. On September 7, thousands of protestors gathered in San Salvador to protest the launch of Chivo and the adoption of bitcoin. The cause of these protests was concern over a lack of transparency regarding the creation of the Bitcoin Law and Chivo, and the use of tax dollars to purchase bitcoin. The limited rate of internet penetration in El Salvador would also limit the number of people who could make use of cryptocurrency. On June 9, 2021, the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador voted to adopt the Bitcoin Law, that would make the cryptocurrency legal tender in the country, with a majority vote of 62 of the 84 deputies in favor.

El Salvador Launches CUBO+ Bitcoin Educational Program

Using the cryptocurrency would make it faster and cheaper to get remittances from abroad, he argues, and could free the indebted nation from the hold of the traditional global financial system. MEXICO CITY — El Salvador on Tuesday became the first country to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender, allowing the cryptocurrency to be used in any transaction, from buying a cup of coffee to paying taxes. Less than a quarter of those surveyed in September had paid for something using it.

El Salvador’s economy relies heavily on remittances, or money sent home from abroad, which make up around 20% of the country’s gross domestic product . He has previously said the move will open up financial services to the 70% of Salvadoreans who do not have bank accounts. But a survey by the National Bureau of Economic Research , a U.S.-based NGO, found that only 20% of Salvadorans who downloaded the Chivo app continued to use it after spending the $30 that the government gave in free credit to promote its use. President Nayib Bukele had promised that “Bitcoin City” would be a tax haven for crypto investors and miners equipped with an airport, residential and commercial areas, and a central plaza designed to look like a bitcoin symbol from the sky.

None of these losses are locked in until the country exits its bitcoin position. Ziemba added that there have been some swaps with major crypto firms that allowed the country to raise cash to pay off the debt due this year, and perhaps early next year, but the long-term debt sustainability remains a challenge. Bukele’s New Ideas party has control over the country’s Legislative Assembly. In 2021, the new assembly came under fire afterit ousted the attorney general and top judges. Agency for International Development to pull aid from El Salvador’s national police and a public information institute and reroute the funds to civil society groups.

It has been more than a year since El Salvador made history by becoming the first country to make bitcoin legal tender, and so far, 37-year-old resident Edgardo Acevedo has found the nationwide crypto experiment to be relatively anticlimactic. El Salvador become the first country to adopt bitcoin as legal tender in June. The new law means every business must accept Bitcoin as legal tender for goods or services, unless it is unable to provide the technology needed to do the transaction. In theory, developing nations like El Salvador are ideal candidates for cryptocurrency adoption due to a continued reliance on cash and a largely unbanked population.

Bitcoin Beach: How a town in El Salvador became a testing ground for bitcoin

However, the government was unable to control monetary policy after dollarization, as the value of currency was tied to the United States Federal Reserve. The exchange rate, which was fixed at one U.S dollar being equivalent to 8.75 colóns, decreased the purchasing power of the population. Dollarization slowed down El Salvador’s exports because it could not compete against the undervalued currencies of other developing countries such as China. The lack of financial literacy harmed the population of El Salvador since they did not know how to use the US dollar, nor did they understand its value.

“One of the big issues has been the fact that the bitcoin gimmick has distracted from the fiscal and economic challenges of the country and made it more difficult for the country to access IFI lending and preferential terms,” Ziemba said. El Salvador faces a heavy mix of multilateral and domestic debts, including imminent debt repayment deadlines in the billions of dollars, such as an$800 million eurobondthat matures in January. “There seems to be evidence that most people used it primarily to get the free money from the government but have not used it on an ongoing basis given volatility and fees,” Ziemba said.

Browse an unrivalled portfolio of real-time and historical market data and insights from worldwide sources and experts. Residents of the place where the city is planned, between the Conchagua volcano and the Gulf of Fonseca on the Pacific coast, feel the majority of the country’s 6.5 million inhabitants will not be favored. The Bukele government declined to comment for this story but has defended doubling down on bitcoin -including the acquisition of 2,381 bitcoins- assuring it is a long-term plan. A major part of the problem is that the drop in the value of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has alienated investors.