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June 09, 2021El Salvador becomes the first country in the world where Bitcoin is legal currency, after the Congress of El Salvador approved by a large majority the bill wanted by President Nyib Bukele to revive the economy.
The Central American nation of six million people is the first to adopt a cryptocurrency as its official currency, albeit alongside the US dollar. "The bitcoin law has just been passed by a super majority in Congress, 64 votes out of 84. It's history," Bukele tweeted.
In announcing the bill a few days ago, the president explained that the goal was "to allow the financial inclusion of thousands of people who are outside the legal economy". The initiative aims to create jobs, added Bukele, in a country where "70% of the population does not have a bank account and works in the underground economy".
Bitcoins will thus join the US dollar, the official currency. Remittances from Salvadorans working abroad represent an important slice of the economy, equivalent to about 22% of GDP. According to official reports, in 2020 remittances to the Central American country amounted to 5.9 billion dollars. According to Bukele, Bitcoin represented "the fastest growing way to transfer" billions of dollars in remittances and prevent millions from being lost to intermediaries.
"Thanks to the use of bitcoin, the amount received by over one million low-income families increases by several billion dollars every year," the president said.