2021-09-16 14:32:49

El Salvador Becomes First Nation to Make Bitcoin Legal Tender Amid Growing Authoritarianism

Thousands in El Salvador took to the streets Wednesday to protest President Nayib Bukele’s growing consolidation of power and a new law making El Salvador the world’s first country to recognize the highly volatile cryptocurrency bitcoin as legal tender.

Protesters in El Salvador are also criticizing a recent court ruling that paves the way for Bukele to run for reelection in 2024. El Salvador’s turn to bitcoin comes as a “surprise” to many, but has been pushed by Bukele as a way to lessen remittance fees, says Jorge Cuéllar, an assistant professor of Latin American, Latino and Caribbean studies at Dartmouth College.

“There’s no reason why bitcoin should be at the top of the government agenda in a moment of pandemic, of water stress, of food insecurity, of depressed wages,” Cuéllar says. “People are very suspicious of this.”

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