On the second and last day of the Bitcoin 2021 conference, the president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, announced that the country’s government will soon declare bitcoin as legal tender. He did so in a recorded message that was shared during a presentation hosted by Jack Mallers, founder of Lightning Network payments platform Strike.
In the message Bukele said:
“Next week I will send to congress a bill that will make bitcoin a legal tender.”
The 39-year-old El Salvador President claimed that his plan will have short-term benefits for thousands of unbanked individuals. The plan would also generate new jobs in the country, spurring it forward, he said:
“And in the medium and long term, we hope that this decision can help us push humanity, at least a tiny bit into the right direction.”
Mallers, who has been working with Bukele on this historic move, rationalized Bukele’s announcement as pushing back against “unprecedented monetary expansion.” In particular, the U.S Federal Reserve got blamed for “crushing emerging markets” such as El Salvador’s dollarized economy by endless money printing.
In the presentation, Mallers shared a preview of what appeared to be Bukele’s bill:
The preview read:
“In order to mitigate the negative impact from central banks, it becomes necessary to authorize the circulation of a digital currency with a supply that cannot be controlled by any central bank and is only altered in accord with objective and calculable criteria.”
Bitcoin undoubtedly fits these criteria as a decentralized, hard-capped, stateless, decade-old digital currency.
Commenting on his involvement with Bukele, Mallers said:
“Over 70% of the active population of El Salvador doesn’t have a bank account. They’re not in the financial system.”
He then continued:
“They asked me to help write a plan and that they viewed bitcoin as a world-class currency and that we needed to put together a Bitcoin plan to help these people.”
If the bill passes and all goes according to plan, El Salvador will become the first country to onboard to a non-fiat currency by declaring bitcoin legal tender. Since Bitcoin does not fall under the control of any third party or central bank this can put El Salvador in a unique position as a ‘first mover’.
Mallers said that the country is working with Bitcoin businesses and platforms to further outline the logistics of the plan.
El Salvador’s adoption of the top cryptocurrency will provide an excellent use case and consequentially Mallers said he would take all lessons learned and provide an open-source guide to the process called ‘Bitcoin For Countries.’
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