El Salvador buys first 200 bitcoins ahead of adopting cryptocurrency as legal tender
07 Sep 2021

El Salvador bought its first 200 bitcoins on Monday ahead of formally adopting the cryptocurrency as legal tender.

The country’s president, Nayib Bukele announced the purchase on Twitter, adding that more would be purchased in the coming days.

He said: “El Salvador has just bought it’s first 200 coins.

“Our brokers will be buying a lot more as the deadline approaches.”

In anticipation of the formal adoption, he added: “Tomorrow, for the first time in history, all the eyes of the world will be on El Salvador.”

In June, the Congress of El Salvador approved a law that would make bitcoin legal tender in the country from 7 September, with the goal of boosting the economy.

This change in legislation will make El Salvador the first country in the world to recognise the cryptocurrency as legal tender.

The president has said that the use of bitcoin will save Salvadoarans who live internationally millions of dollars in commissions on money that they send back to the Central American country.

Earlier this year he said that the currency “will be a great benefit for our people”.

But many Salvadorans have been wary about using the cryptocurrency, most notably around its volatility. In April, a full bitcoin was worth around USD$65,000 (£47,000), in June it was worth half that. Now, it has rebounded to around USD$50,000.

Critics have also suggested that using bitcoins as legal tender could increase regulatory and financial risks for financial institutions, particularly around international anti-money laundering and terrorist financing rules.

By Celine Wadhera, The Independent, 7 September 2021

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