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Bitcoin: El Salvador hosts 44 countries to encourage crypto adoption

President Nayib Bukele recently ‘bought the dip’ with the purchase of another 500 BTC

Anthony Cuthbertson
Monday 16 May 2022 13:15 BST
El Salvador became the first country in the world to adopt bitcoin as an official currency in September 2021
El Salvador became the first country in the world to adopt bitcoin as an official currency in September 2021 (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
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Eight months after becoming the first country in the world to adopt bitcoin as an official currency, El Salvador has invited 44 countries to discuss the “rollout and benefits” of the cryptocurrency.

The Central American country will host representatives from Africa, Asia and Latin America on Monday, with financial inclusion and digital economy among the discussion topics.

El Salvador President Nayib Bukele shared a full list of the attendees on Twitter, revealing that the central banks of both Egypt and Nigeria would be present, accounting for the two biggest economies in Africa.

“Tomorrow, 32 central banks and 12 financial authorities (44 countries) will meet in El Salvador to discuss financial inclusion, digital economy, banking the unbanked, the bitcoin rollout and its benefits in our country,” President Bukele tweeted on Sunday evening.

El Salvador’s decision to adopt bitcoin came in response to combat hyper inflation and reduce its reliance on the US dollar.

The country has also added bitcoin to its balance sheet, with a total reserve of roughly 2,301 BTC – worth almost $70 million at current market rates.

A recent price crash means that El Salvador’s crypto holdings have fallen in value by around 28 per cent against the dollar, though the biggest purchase of 500 BTC came after President Bukele “bought the dip” when bitcoin was at its current price.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has also warned other countries about following El Salvador’s lead, claiming that bitcoin “entails large risks for financial and market integrity, financial stability and consumer protection”.

Despite this warning, Central African Republic became the second country in the world to adopt bitcoin as legal tender last month, making it an official currency alongside the existing CFA franc.

“With cryptocurrency, there is no more control of the Central Bank,” Gourna Zacko, CAR’s minister of the digital economy, said in a statement announcing the move.

“You have your money, you send an investor for a business, you receive it in any currency, you can dispose with it in dollar, euro, CFA or Naira.”

El Salvador’s bitcoin experiment still has a long way to go, with the next major stage involving the construction of a brand new city named after the decentralised digital currency.

Bitcoin City will be built at the base of the Conchagua volcano on the Gulf of Fonseca, and has been described by bitcoin advocates as a “crypto utopia”.

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