El Salvador President Nayib Bukele has announced that he would send a bill to Congress next week to make the bitcoin cryptocurrency a legal tender in the Central American country, in what will be a world first.
Bukele announced the move in a pre-recorded message played on Saturday at the Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami, Florida, during a presentation hosted by Jack Mallers, founder digital wallet company Strike, reports dpa news agency.
“Next week I will send to Congress a bill that will make bitcoin a legal tender in El Salvador,” Bukele said.
“In the short term this will generate jobs and help provide financial inclusion to thousands outside the formal economy,” the President added.
Mallers said he has been working with Bukele to determine the logistics of the move.
“Over 70 per cent of the active population of El Salvador doesn’t have a bank account. They’re not in the financial system,” Mallers said during the presentation.
“They asked me to help write a bill and that they viewed bitcoin as a world-class currency and that we needed to put together a bitcoin plan to help these people.”
As cited by the Strike founder, the bill says that “in order to mitigate the negative impact from central banks, it becomes necessary to authorise the circulation of a digital currency with a supply that cannot be controlled by any central bank and is only altered in accord with objective and calculable criteria”.
The International Labour Organization estimates that six out of every 10 Salvadorans are scraping a living out of the informal economy in the country.