On Sunday, the President of El Salvador Nayib Bukele took to Twitter to announce that 32 central banks and 12 financial institutions from 44 countries would meet Monday. The discussion will relate to financial inclusion, digital economy, banking the unbanked and El Salvador’s Bitcoin rollout.
The President followed up that initial tweet within the hour with subsequent tweets, listing the names of the countries that would be represented. The list extended to a range of developing countries across Africa and Asia.
At the time of publication, the meeting is ongoing. In addressing the meeting, President of El Salvador’s Central Bank, Douglas Rodríguez, stated: “An innovative initiative for inclusion has been the implementation of Bitcoin as legal tender and the creation of a state wallet in the country.”
Bitcoin Beach involvement
It seems likely that the team behind the Bitcoin Beach project had some level of involvement related to this event as its Twitter account pre-empted the President with a tweet on Friday declaring that central bankers from a list of developing nations were getting on planes to fly to El Salvador. The tweet also took a dig at the IMF, stating “don’t worry @IMFNews - it is probably nothing”. The IMF has been actively discouraging nation states such as Argentina from adopting cryptocurrency whilst urging El Salvador to abandon Bitcoin.
The Bitcoin community project chimed in again shortly after the President’s tweet - publishing a map loosely associated with the countries who had officials attending the meeting. Bitcoin Beach had been influential in President Bukele arriving at the decision to make Bitcoin legal tender in El Salvador.
El Salvador became the first country to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender in September 2021. It has since been joined by the Central African Republic, which announced that Bitcoin must be accepted as payment alongside its existing currency from April 20 onwards. In Panama a bill has been approved and when signed by the President, it will make Bitcoin and eight other cryptocurrencies legal (although not legal tender) in the Central American country.
Mainstream media sources have been nothing if not consistent in their criticism of El Salvador’s Bitcoin adoption. On Saturday the Wall Street Journal published an article criticizing the President’s use of El Salvadoran taxpayer money on the project. Last week New Scientist predicted an unsuccessful outcome to the Central African Republic’s recent adoption of Bitcoin.
What is often forgotten is that the time frame that this all has played out in is incredibly short. Developing countries have more to benefit from than most in adopting Bitcoin. They are the countries that by virtue of their developing status, have many existing challenges to overcome. We can be sure that Bitcoin adoption will be imperfect but over the longer time frame, it has every reason to succeed in spite of protests from the IMF and others who would rather see it fail.
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