Free World - September 15, 2021

Tuesday is B-Day, or Bitcoin Day, in El Salvador.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ The tiny and impoverished…


Tuesday is B-Day, or Bitcoin Day, in El Salvador.⁠⁠
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The tiny and impoverished Central American nation became the first country in the world to adopt bitcoin as legal tender on Tuesday, allowing Salvadorans to use the cryptocurrency to buy a cup of coffee, get a haircut or even pay taxes and home loans.⁠⁠
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To get them started, the administration of El Salvador President Nayib Bukele will spend more than $225 million. The plan includes a $30 credit in bitcoin to those who take up Chivo, slang for “cool,” a government-run e-wallet that can be used for purchases in bitcoin or U.S. dollars. The government is also rolling out a network of 200 bitcoin ATMs and building a chain of Chivo-brand kiosks with staff who will introduce consumers to bitcoin at plazas around the country.⁠⁠
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The stakes are high for an indebted country of 6.5 million. Economists say that bitcoin’s sharp fluctuations risk denting tax revenue and foreign currency reserves of a government that has neither the policy tools nor the financial firepower to contain a speculative attack.⁠⁠
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The Bukele administration has shrugged off warnings from creditors such as the International Monetary Fund, which advised against the adoption of privately issued tokens that bypass authorities and open doors to illicit transactions.⁠⁠
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Government officials say bitcoin’s adoption will lead to affordable financial services in a country where an estimated 70% of the workforce operates in a vast underground, cash-based economy.⁠⁠
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Read more at the link in our bio.⁠⁠
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📷: Jose Cabezas for @wsjphotos



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