El Salvador looks poised to be the first nation in history to legalize a cryptocurrency as legal tender. Over the weekend, President Nayib Bukele announced in a live broadcast to the Bitcoin 2021. Conference in Miami, that he is finalizing legislation to recognize bitcoin as an official currency in the Pacific Central American country. He’s sending the bill to the legislature next week.
The Bitcoin conference attendees present for Bukele’s livestream burst into cheers at the announcement. The timing of the conference on the 77th anniversary weekend of the D-Day invasion at Normandy, intended or not, was appropriately symbolic.
With El Salvador’s adoption of bitcoin as an official, government sanctioned currency, the world’s first and largest decentralized bank will establish a beachhead in the official channels of sovereign governance.
Crypto Twitter timelines filled up with exuberant chatter about the development. But along with the optimism and bullish sentiment for bitcoin, were concerns about President Bukele’s authoritarian tendencies.
Bottom Line: His critics were alarmed when Bukele sent soldiers to the national congress to goose the passage of an emergency appropriations bill. The U.S. redirected aid from his government last month after his party removed multiple supreme court judges. Human Rights Watch has stepped up pressure on governments to intervene over Bukele’s alleged dangers to press freedom in El Salvador. Meanwhile he enjoys resounding popular support in his country, and has drastically reduced the country’s endemic gang violence.
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