El Salvador's controversial president, Nayib Bukele, has announced a legislative proposal to make bitcoin legal tender. If his plan is backed by congress, the Central American country would become the first in the world to formally adopt the digital currency.
The announcement came at the Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami, Florida, where President Bukele explained: "In the short term, this will generate jobs and help provide financial inclusion to thousands outside the formal economy."
In a later Twitter post, Bukele added that, "We hope that this decision will be just the beginning in providing a space where some of the leading innovators can reimagine the future of finance, potentially helping billions around the world."
Around 70% of Salvadorans are currently without access to bank accounts or financial services and Bitcoin could provide a major test case of its value. The news was welcomed by crypto industry figures as a momentous step in the adoption of bitcoin around the world. Bitcoin pioneer Charlie Shrem, who was involved in the cryptocurrency’s early development, described it as a “major step towards hyperbitcoinization” that will further disrupt the traditional financial system.
It's highly unlikely that Bukele's bill will fail to be passed, as his party, New Ideas, controls El Salvador's unicameral legislature.