We know that big countries like China and India have done their best to push back against the tide of emerging cryptocurrency systems. Even in the U.S., where the SEC has slow-walked any plans for a Bitcoin ETF, we see a good deal of resistance on the part of legislators and regulators.
The tiny Central America country of El Salvador, with a total population of about six and a half million people, is going in a different direction – reports today at NewsBTC show president Nayib Bukele is looking to make Bitcoin “legal tender,” tying it into the company’s official currency, which has previously been the dollar.
Bukele has cited the practice of sending money back to a home country or remittances as a reason to integrate Bitcoin into the country’s financial system.
Other countries in the region, NewsBTC writer Samuel Wan reports, have also started to contemplate this move in tying cryptocurrency to national fiat economies.
“The move has triggered a flood of neighboring Latin American countries to signal their intent to follow suit,” Wan writes. “So far, the list of countries that may emulate El Salvador includes Brazil, Paraguay, Panama, and Mexico.”
“It’s a historic day for humanity,” says Bitcoin fan Anthony “The Pomp” Pompliano, a guy who many BTC holders listen to.
Others are more circumspect.
“It’s a non event,” said notable BTC hater Peter Schiff of the move. “Bitcoin will never be used as a medium of exchange or unit of account. The sole purpose of the symbolic gesture is to get Bitcoin companies to set up shop, pay taxes and create some jobs, while allowing Bitcoin pumpers to exaggerate the significance.”
Either way, El Salvador’s initiative could be an important test case for a cryptocurrency that has built a globally established presence, largely outside of the purview of central banks. We’ll see what happens in the next few years.