Supporters of El Salvador’s decision hailed the move as the progressive future of money.
Critics, however, derided it as little more than a Bukele publicity stunt.
More troubling still, they say the move poses substantial financial risks for ordinary Salvadorans and their country, as cryptocurrency is a notoriously volatile market.
Indeed, the country’s cryptocurrency rollout got off to a rocky start yesterday, with Bitcoin plunging more than 10%, its value dropping from $ 52,500 to $ 44,000, on its first day as the official currency. from El Salvador.
But Bukele argued that adopting Bitcoin will allow more Salvadorans, about 70% of whom do not have bank accounts, to enter the formal economy.
“Who would be against something that helps people and doesn’t hurt? He said of his detractors. “They are probably politically motivated. “
He also argued that it would be faster and cheaper to receive money from family living abroad.
El Salvador’s economy relies heavily on the remittance market, accounting for about 20% of the country’s pound sterling, or about $ 6 billion a year, according to Forbes.
About 95 percent of remittances are sent by Salvadorans working in the United States to their families in their home country.
But the service charges for such transfers can be a significant portion of the portion sent, especially with smaller transfer amounts.