On September 7, El Salvador’s controversial Bitcoin (BTC) law goes into effect. This is announced by the president of the Central American country Nayib Bukele on June 25:
The new law was passed about two weeks ago, when a large majority voted in favour. On September 7, bitcoin will be officially recognized as money and legal tender in El Salvador. That means, among other things, that retailers have to adopt the cryptocurrency.
Furthermore, the president announces that every citizen of El Salvador will receive $30 in bitcoin for free. Exactly how many people will receive bitcoin is not entirely clear. It is estimated that the country has a population of 6.825 million
However, the figures on how large the percentage of this population is mature, and therefore actually receives bitcoin, are very unclear. Most statistics report that the group under 15 years old is about 25%. So for the sake of convenience, let’s take 70% of the total population eligible for bitcoin. That would be about 4.8 million people receiving $30, or that’s perhaps $144 million worth of bitcoin bought in one go.
In addition, the president is announcing a new wallet called Chivo. The wallet app should work on any phone and does not require a subscription. However, access to the app is via facial recognition software and many people are critical about that.
Also, not everyone is happy with the new bitcoin law. The opposition party in El Salvador recently filed a lawsuit against the law that could still throw a spanner in the works, although the chances of success do not appear to be very high. The World Bank also recently refused to help El Salvador with the implementation of bitcoin. Jack Mallers, founder of Strike, lashed out at people who oppose this yesterday: