El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele said in a national address on June 24th, 2021, that a recently passed law making bitcoin legal tender will take effect on Sept. 7, noting that its use will be optional.
El Salvador’s Congress already approved Bukele’s proposal to embrace the cryptocurrency, making El Salvador the first country in the world to adopt bitcoin as legal tender. read more
“The use of bitcoin will be optional, nobody will receive bitcoin if they don’t want it… If someone receives a payment in bitcoin they can choose to automatically receive it in dollars,” said Bukele.
The government will use the Chivo e-wallet, preloaded with US$30 of bitcoin for everyone who downloads it. The $30 in bitcoin will be sent to users’ wallets once they verify their identities via the app’s face recognition software.
Athena Bitcoin said it plans to invest over $1 million to install some 1,500 cryptocurrency ATMs in El Salvador, especially where residents receive remittances from abroad. read more
According to Athena Bitcoin’s website, the ATMs can be used to buy bitcoins or sell them for cash.
“One of the reasons we passed the bitcoin law is precisely to help people who send remittances,” said Bukele, adding the high costs of commissions traditionally associated with sending money home would be eliminated by using the cryptocurrency.
El Salvador relies heavily on money sent back from workers abroad. World Bank data showed remittances to the country made up nearly $6 billion or around a fifth of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019, one of the highest ratios in the world.