LatinNews Daily - 14 June 2022

In brief: Finance minister denies bitcoin-related losses in El Salvador

* Alejandro Zelaya, El Salvador’s finance minister, maintained on 13 June that the country has not suffered losses from the fall in the price of bitcoin and insisted that the risks of having a cryptocurrency as legal tender are minimal. In September 2021 legislation was approved to make bitcoin legal tender, alongside the US dollar, sparking protests in the capital San Salvador. President Nayib Bukele’s government has accumulated 2,301 bitcoins (for a total of over US$100m) and has announced plans to build the world’s first ‘Bitcoin City’. However, in May the cryptocurrency crashed, losing 60% of its value in a single week, before suffering further hits in the first two weeks of June. This has raised concerns over El Salvador’s financial stability. In comments reported by local media, Zelaya argued that none of the government’s bitcoin assets had been sold, and dismissed claims that the country had suffered losses of US$40m.

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