LatinNews Daily - 24 March 2022

In brief: El Salvador’s Bukele slams US senate bitcoin bill

*El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele has criticised a bill passed yesterday by the US senate foreign relations committee, now being considered by the US senate, known as the “Accountability for Cryptocurrency in El Salvador (ACES) Act”. The bill seeks to mitigate risks to the US financial system from El Salvador's adoption of bitcoin as legal tender in September 2021. Bukele tweeted yesterday: “Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that the US Government would be afraid of what we are doing here.” Introduced on 16 February by Senators James Risch (R-ID), Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), the bill requires a report analysing El Salvador’s adoption of bitcoin as legal tender and the risks for cybersecurity, economic stability, and democratic governance in El Salvador, and a plan to mitigate potential risks to the US financial system. In a statement introducing the bill, Risch said, “El Salvador’s adoption of bitcoin as legal tender raises significant concerns about the economic stability and financial integrity of a vulnerable US trading partner in Central America… This new policy has the potential to weaken US sanctions policy, empowering malign actors like China and organised criminal organisations.” El Salvador’s adoption of bitcoin as legal tender has prompted concern from institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and was a factor in the decision by international credit ratings agency Fitch Ratings to downgrade El Salvador last month.

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