Bitcoin price rise allows El Salvador to build 20 schools with profits

Country’s crypto holdings have risen in value by millions of dollars in recent months

Anthony Cuthbertson
Tuesday 02 November 2021 17:50 GMT
El Salvador president Nayib Bukele laid the first stone of the country’s first public veterinary hospital on 1 November, 2021
El Salvador president Nayib Bukele laid the first stone of the country’s first public veterinary hospital on 1 November, 2021 (Casa Presidencial El Salvador)

The president of El Salvador has announced that the country will build 20 new schools with the profits made from buying bitcoin.

President Nayib Bukele made the announcement at an event to mark the beginning of construction of the country’s firs public veterinary hospital, which is also being funded by cryptocurrency profits.

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The announcement comes less than two months after El Salvador became the first country in the world to officially recognise bitcoin as a legal form of tender through the passing of the Bitcoin Law.

The country also established the Salvadoran Trust for the Adoption of Bitcoin, which has bought more than 1,000 bitcoins over the last few months.

The crypto purchase has coincided with a major price rally for bitcoin, which has risen roughly 40 per cent since the Bitcoin Law was introduced.

“I want to announce that with a few million that we have left from the profits of bitcoin, we are going to build 20 bitcoin schools, fully equipped and modern,” President Bukele said.

“God willing, more works will come from the profits of a trust that was created and a Law that was created because we ignored the opposition.”

President Bukele also claimed the Bitcoin Law had allowed citizens to receive remittance payments without paying costly fees.

Remittance accounts for roughly 23 per cent of El Salvador’s GDP, which was one of the primary reasons to roll out the law. Another reason was to reduce the reliance on the US dollar as a reserve currency, while also offering a direct route to financial services in a country where around 70 per cent of the population does not have a bank account but more than 90 per cent has a smartphone.

In order to encourage the adoption of bitcoin in the county, each Salvadoran received $30 worth of bitcoin back in September through the Chivo wallet app. This means that anyone who held on to their crypto would have around $42 at current exchange rates.

El Salvador is also building a bitcoin mining facility powered by geothermal energy produced by volcanoes.

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