Skip to main content

El Salvador becomes first country to adopt Bitcoin as an official currency

El Salvador becomes first country to adopt Bitcoin as an official currency

/

The cryptocurrency will be legal tender alongside the US dollar

Share this story

El Salvador Readies Bitcoin Rollout With 200 ATMs For Conversion
A recently-installed Bitcoin ATM.

As of today, Bitcoin is an official currency of El Salvador alongside the US dollar, after the Central American country became the first to adopt the cryptocurrency as legal tender. At three minutes to midnight local time, the country’s populist president Nayid Bukele tweeted that the country was about to “make history” with the move, after previously confirming that it had purchased 400 Bitcoins, the equivalent of around $20.9 million at today’s prices. 

Supporters argue the move will make it cheaper and easier for migrants to send money home to El Salvador, which is important given such remittances account for over 24 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, according to figures from the World Bank reported by CNBC. There are also hopes the move could improve citizens’ access to financial services. The CEO of Strike, a digital finance company that helped with the logistics of the new law, told CNN that over 70 percent of the country’s “active population” do not currently have a bank account.

But there are fears that the adoption of such a historically volatile currency could harm Salvadorans, and risk economic stability. Bitcoin hit a historic high of over $60,000 in April, before losing nearly half its value in a crash later in the summer. The law has contributed to rating agency Moody’s decision to downgrade El Salvador’s debt rating, according to The Financial Times, and the IMF has also warned about its potentially destabilizing effects.

The law means citizens will be able to pay taxes in Bitcoin, and shops will be able to display prices in the digital currency. Money exchanged into the currency will also not be subject to capital gains tax. CNBC notes that the move makes El Salvador the first country to officially have Bitcoin on its balance sheet and to hold it as part of its reserves. 

El Salvador has been preparing to support the cryptocurrency for months, after passing the legislation in June. Last month it began installing 200 ATMs around the country to allow citizens to convert between the country’s two official currencies. It’s also launching its own digital wallet called “Chivo,” which awards users $30 of free Bitcoin to encourage adoption. 

Despite all the initiatives, anecdotal evidence suggests that few businesses are ready for the change. The Financial Times surveyed over 20 enterprises in the country’s capital and found only three that said they had immediate plans to accept the currency. Others either hadn’t started their preparations, or were actively resistant to transacting in Bitcoin. A survey conducted by the Central American University found that 70 percent of Salvadorans disagreed with the decision to adopt the cryptocurrency as legal tender, CNBC reports. 

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed Sep 24 Striking out

E
External Link
Emma RothSep 24
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.


A
Youtube
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Look at this Thing.

At its Tudum event today, Netflix showed off a new clip from the Tim Burton series Wednesday, which focused on a very important character: the sentient hand known as Thing. The full series starts streaming on November 23rd.


A
The Verge
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.


A
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Looking for something to do this weekend?

Why not hang out on the couch playing video games and watching TV. It’s a good time for it, with intriguing recent releases like Return to Monkey Island, Session: Skate Sim, and the Star Wars spinoff Andor. Or you could check out some of the new anime on Netflix, including Thermae Romae Novae (pictured below), which is my personal favorite time-traveling story about bathing.


A screenshot from the Netflix anime Thermae Romae Novae.
Thermae Romae Novae.
Image: Netflix
J
Twitter
Jay PetersSep 23
Twitch’s creators SVP is leaving the company.

Constance Knight, Twitch’s senior vice president of global creators, is leaving for a new opportunity, according to Bloomberg’s Cecilia D’Anastasio. Knight shared her departure with staff on the same day Twitch announced impending cuts to how much its biggest streamers will earn from subscriptions.


T
Twitter
Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.


A
External Link
If you’re using crash detection on the iPhone 14, invest in a really good phone mount.

Motorcycle owner Douglas Sonders has a cautionary tale in Jalopnik today about the iPhone 14’s new crash detection feature. He was riding his LiveWire One motorcycle down the West Side Highway at about 60 mph when he hit a bump, causing his iPhone 14 Pro Max to fly off its handlebar mount. Soon after, his girlfriend and parents received text messages that he had been in a horrible accident, causing several hours of panic. The phone even called the police, all because it fell off the handlebars. All thanks to crash detection.

Riding a motorcycle is very dangerous, and the last thing anyone needs is to think their loved one was in a horrible crash when they weren’t. This is obviously an edge case, but it makes me wonder what other sort of false positives we see as more phones adopt this technology.


A
External Link
Ford is running out of its own Blue Oval badges.

Running out of semiconductors is one thing, but running out of your own iconic nameplates is just downright brutal. The Wall Street Journal reports badge and nameplate shortages are impacting the automaker's popular F-series pickup lineup, delaying deliveries and causing general chaos.

Some executives are even proposing a 3D printing workaround, but they didn’t feel like the substitutes would clear the bar. All in all, it's been a dreadful summer of supply chain setbacks for Ford, leading the company to reorganize its org chart to bring some sort of relief.