El Salvador’s historic decision to become the first country to make Bitcoin a legal tender does not please everyone. If this hostility was obvious coming from international financial institutions, such as the IMF, it is more surprising to see a part of the local population expressing their opposition.
A confirmed fear of Bitcoin
It was already known that some politicians and opponents of Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele wanted to counter the “Ley Bitcoin” (Bitcoin Law), yet it was largely passed by the country’s legislators on June 8.
As reported by Brazilian crypto-media Livecoins, some citizens protested on July 20 to say “No al Bitcoin” (or “no to bitcoin”). These protesters went in front of the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador, demanding the outright repeal of the Bitcoin Law.
The opposition grouping, known as the “Bloque de Resistencia y Rebeldía Popular” (or “Block of Resistance and Popular Rebellion”), with banners and signs in hand, gave a speech that sounded like it was straight out of a central banker’s mouth:
“Bitcoin facilitates public corruption, drug dealer operations, arms and human trafficking, extortion and tax evasion. It will also cause monetary chaos, a decrease in salaries, pensions and savings of citizens.”
Is submission to the US dollar preferable?
In Latin American countries, however, it is rather the rampant and systematic inflation of local currencies that is causing the loss of purchasing power and “monetary chaos”.
In El Salvador, the catastrophic depreciation of the Salvadoran colón finally led to its death in 2001, replaced by default by the US dollar alone – because yes, El Salvador hasn’t even had a national currency for 20 years.
Approved in early June, the Bitcoin Law provides for a 90-day period before it goes into effect. This means that Salvadorans will have the right and duty to accept bitcoins this September.
While for crypto-enthusiasts, this would represent an incredible opportunity to live in the only country in the world (for now) to have adopted Bitcoin as its currency, some Salvadorans remain worried about the idea of leaving the 20-year hegemony of the paternalistic US dollar. Let’s hope that education and familiarization with crypto-currencies will help protesters have the same vision of Bitcoin as Elon Musk: “My hope for Bitcoin is that it allows for a better standard of living and more power for the individual.”