El Salvador becomes the first country to make bitcoin legal tender


It was bound to happen eventually. El Salvador has become the first country in the world to accept bitcoin as legal tender. The new law was signed by the country’s president Nayib Bukele and accepted by its Congress, officially adopting the cryptocurrency as a method of payment.

First El Salvador, then… the world!

President Bukele said of the move in a tweet, “It will bring financial inclusion, investment, tourism, innovation and economic development for our country.” The idea, in part, is to aid El Salvadorians living abroad to send remittances back home, while companies and even the government will have to accept the cryptocurrency as a form of payment. It’s also hoped that investors will take more notice of the country.

This move, perhaps understandably, has bitcoin’s adherents thrilled. The currency has had a tough time of late, with harsher legislation on the horizon in China and the currency’s value dropping dramatically in recent weeks.

The country is also investigating the possibility of bitcoin mining powered by geothermal energy, which sounds like a boring sentence when you put it like that. Put another way, El Salvador’s president has instructed the state-owned geothermal electricity company to find a way to use volcanoes to mine for bitcoin. Which is a little more eco-friendly than converting an old coal-fired power plant to natural gas and using that, we suppose.

The American dollar, the current currency there, will remain in place, with the markets setting the bitcoin-dollar exchange rate. El Salvador’s changeover to accepting bitcoin will take place in 90 days.

Source: Reuters via Ars Technica


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