LatinNews Daily - 07 June 2021

In brief: El Salvador’s Bukele reveals plans to make Bitcoin legal tender

* El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele has announced plans to send a bill to congress, in which the ruling Nuevas Ideas party has a majority, to make the cryptocurrency Bitcoin legal tender in El Salvador. If approved, this would make the country the first in the world to formally adopt the Bitcoin as legal currency, which would be used alongside the US dollar, El Salvador’s official currency. President Bukele announced his plan in a video broadcast to a Bitcoin conference held in Miami, Florida. He said that in the short term the initiative will generate jobs and help provide financial inclusion to those outside the formal economy. A press release circulated in the media by Strike, a mobile payments app allowing users to send and receive money anywhere for free, which launched in El Salvador in March 2021, welcomed the move. It described it as a “leapfrog moment that can help countries like El Salvador shift from a largely cash economy to an innovative, inclusive, and transparent digital economy where your bank account is your phone”. It adds this is “especially meaningful in El Salvador, where about 70% of people do not have bank accounts or credit cards. In addition, remittances account for more than 20% of El Salvador’s GDP, and incumbent services can charge 10% or more in fees for international transfers that take days to arrive and must be collected from a physical location”.

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