The future of Bitcoin mining (BTC) continues to be written in El Salvador. Indeed, the country has just validated a $150 million fund to support the country’s ambitions around Bitcoin. The money will come from the redirection of a loan that was intended for economic recovery.
Bitcoin history is being written in the land of volcanoes
El Salvador is one of the topics that we never tire of talking about in the Bitcoin ecosystem. In fact, we were just recently talking about this small Latin American country and its grand plans to make Bitcoin a national currency. For now, it is the Finance Committee of the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador that has just approved a trust fund of $150 million to support the country’s plan to make Bitcoin legal tender.
That amount could even be increased further, according to an article in the Salvadoran newspaper elsalvador.com.
The Central American country became the first in the world to make bitcoin legal tender in June, via a law that is set to go into effect in a few days, on September 7. On the same day, El Salvador will launch a wallet called Chivo that supports transactions in U.S. dollars – the country’s national currency – as well as bitcoin. The government announced for the first time a real way to help convert between the two currencies.
According to an announcement from the El Salvador Legislative Assembly, the fund will help roll out the $30 bitcoin bonus that citizens will receive when they sign up for Chivo, which handles the conversion of the doyenne of cryptocurrencies into dollars. As a result, El Salvador will distribute $117 million in BTC to its citizens El Salvador’s president, Nayib Bukele, stressed that citizens will have the choice to download the app or not, although the $30 bonus will only be offered in bitcoin. In addition, the government is also setting up 200 ATMs to support bitcoin transactions.
El Salvador estimates that it now has 50,000 bitcoin users and plans to increase that number to 4 million, according to the announcement. It’s unclear whether that number would include only active crypto-currency users or anyone who downloads the Chivo wallet.
Bitcoin is not unanimously supported
Despite strong support from bitcoin enthusiasts and fans of President Bukele, the plan has also met opposition from some groups protesting the measure in the streets and online using Twitter tags such as #nadiequierebitcoin (“nobody wants bitcoin”) and #noalbitcoin (“no to bitcoin”).
In the rand of those protesting were retirees, veterans and some workers who are reportedly concerned about the possibility of their pensions being paid in bitcoin, although the government has clarified that U.S. dollars will still be used to pay salaries, pensions and set prices. The volatility of bitcoin appears to be a fundamental concern.
Unions have also opposed aspects of the bitcoin plan, including the Salvadoran Association of International Freight Carriers (ASTIC). According to a report, this group is calling on lawmakers to change a section of the law that requires businesses to accept bitcoin as payment.
All is not well in El Salvador. Even though the country has managed to find support from around the world, crypto-currencies are still far from being as popular at home as they are here. The launch of the Chivo wallet and this BTC airdrop should nevertheless make some people happy. It remains to be seen how long before Mexico imitates El Salvador?