Bitcoin to become legal tender in El Salvador on Sept 7

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SAN SALVADOR, June 24 (Reuters) – El Salvador President Nayib Bukele said in a national address Thursday that a recently passed law making Bitcoin legal tender will come into effect on September 7, and indicates that its use will be optional.

The El Salvador Congress has already approved Bukele’s proposal to introduce the cryptocurrency, making El Salvador the first country in the world to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender. Continue reading

“The use of Bitcoin will be optional, nobody will get Bitcoin if they don’t want to … If someone receives a payment in Bitcoin they can automatically receive it in dollars,” said Bukele.

Salaries and pensions will continue to be paid in US dollars, Bukele said, without disclosing whether this includes salaries for government employees and private sector employees.

Earlier in the day, Athena Bitcoin said it plans to invest over $ 1 million to install about 1,500 cryptocurrency ATMs in El Salvador, particularly where residents receive remittances from abroad. Continue reading

According to the Athena Bitcoin website, bitcoins can be bought or sold for cash at ATMs.

“One of the reasons we passed the Bitcoin Act is precisely to help people who send money transfers,” said Bukele, adding that the high commission costs traditionally associated with sending money home would be eliminated through the use of cryptocurrency.

El Salvador is heavily reliant on money that is sent back by foreign workers. World Bank data showed that remittances to the country accounted for nearly $ 6 billion, or roughly a fifth of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019, one of the highest rates in the world.

According to Kenneth Suchoski, US payments and fintech analyst at Autonomous Research, less than 1% of the volume of global cross-border transfers are currently in cryptocurrency. In the future, however, crypto is expected to make up a larger proportion of the more than $ 500 billion in annual remittances worldwide. Continue reading

Reporting by Nelson Rentería in San Salvador; Letter from Anthony Esposito; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

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