On a daily basis I often read about the Cryptocurrency regulation of various countries and within specific countries, different realities. I read about countries that have banned Bitcoin and on the contrary countries like Ukraine that use Cryptocurrencies to finance their army. I was thinking: “Why not create a column on Crypto haven countries? Why not talk about countries that facilitate the use of Bitcoin, Cryptocurrencies and that welcome Crypto entrepreneurs with open arms?” I decided to create the “Crypto haven countries” column and in the first issue I decided to talk about El Salvador, the first nation to make Bitcoin a legal tender.
I have already talked about President Nayib Bukele and his sympathy towards Bitcoin in this article. Now I will tell you about other curiosities concerning the small Central American country. In September 2021 El Salvador bought 400 Bitcoin, one day before the formal adoption of the world’s most popular Cryptocurrency as legal tender.
In October 2021 El Salvador started mining Bitcoin using the energy from volcanoes. El Salvador has mined 0.00599179 BTC, with power harnessed from a volcano, in a first for the country. Bukele had instructed state-owned geothermal electric company, LaGeo SA de CV to “put up a plan to offer facilities for Bitcoin mining with very cheap, 100% clean, 100% renewable, 0 emissions energy from our volcanos.” A breakdown of mining rewards was also provided.
El Salvador is famous for El Zonte, called Bitcoin Beach, that is creating a sustainable Bitcoin Economic ecosystem in a place where the majority of people do not have access to bank accounts and the local businesses could never qualify for merchant accounts needed to accept credit cards. In August 2022 Bukele announced that El Salvador will spend more than $ 200 million to rebuild Bitcoin Beach. He stated: “El Zonte for many is known as Bitcoin Beach; we are going to fix an area of 15,000 square meters, where there will be a shopping center, parking, beach club, treatment plant, to revitalize the area.”
According to Forbes, in El Salvador more people have Bitcoin wallets than traditional bank accounts. In June 2021, President Bukele announced that the government would give the equivalent of US $ 30 in BTC to every citizen who downloads the Chivo wallet app, created by the Salvadoran government to incentivize the use of Bitcoin in the country.
According to Coin ATM Radar, El Salvador is the fourth country in the world for the number of Bitcoin ATMs present on its territory (212 locations). The last year the crypto firm Athena expected to continuously install 1,500 ATMs in El Salvador, while hiring staff to open offices to carry out operations in the country.
As usual, there is no shortage of critics. According to some newspapers, Bitcoin has not transformed the economic reality of El Salvador and even the country is heading towards default. Doubts are also raised about the financial sustainability of El Salvador’s ambitious modernization plan.
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