The president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, announced that the country’s government would declare Bitcoin as legal tender, alongside the U.S. dollar.
In a video broadcast to a multiday conference Miami Bitcoin 2021, the president announced El Salvador’s partnership with Strike, a digital wallet company, to build the country’s modern financial infrastructure using Bitcoin technology.
“Next week I will send to congress a bill that will make Bitcoin a legal tender,” he stated.
This move will make El Salvador the first country to onboard to a non-fiat currency. Because Bitcoin is emitted programmatically and does not lay under the control of any third country or bank, El Salvador is now firmly intended to take advantage of Bitcoin’s unique properties as a scarce and natively digital store of value.
“Over 70% of the active population of El Salvador doesn’t have a bank account. They’re not in the financial system,” the presentation’s host Jack Mallers said. “They asked me to help write a plan and that they viewed Bitcoin as a world-class currency and that we needed to put together a Bitcoin plan to help these people.”
Jack Mallers, the founder of Lightning Network payments platform Strike, has been working with Bukele to determine the details of this historic leap.
“We’re pleased to help El Salvador on its journey towards adoption of the Bitcoin Standard,” he added.
According to Mallers, he would provide an open-source guide to the process called Bitcoin For Countries.
El Salvador already hosted one of the world’s most BTC-forward communities in the region, the Bitcoin Beach project, which has created a circular Bitcoin economy there. Bitcoin Beach also sponsors the country’s national surf teams and is working to build a surf and community center.
Bukele became very popular, with his populist New Ideas party winning recent elections. However, the new parliament came under fire recently after it expels the attorney general and top judges. The move caused the U.S. Agency for International Development to take aid off El Salvador’s national police and a public information institute, re-routing funds to civil society groups instead.