Salvadoran Finance Minister States Bitcoin Use Will Be Optional


Alejandro Zelaya, the Salvadoran Finance Minister, stated that the use of Bitcoin will be fully optional in El Salvador in a televised interview yesterday. However, this caused confusion because it seems to contradict article seven of the Bitcoin Law that was approved last June, where it is explained that every economic agent will have to accept bitcoin as a form of payment.

Salvadoran Finance Minister Says Bitcoin Use Will Be ‘Fully Optional’

Alejandro Zelaya, the Salvadoran Finance Minister, stated that the use of Bitcoin in the country as a payment method will be fully optional and that there is no obligation for citizens to download the state offered wallet if they don’t desire to. The statements were offered in an interview given on a local television station. However, this seems to contradict one of the key articles in the Bitcoin Law. Article seven talks about the mandatory acceptance of bitcoin for payments. The article states:

Every economic agent must accept bitcoin as a form of payment when it is offered by whoever acquires a good or service.

However, when Zelaya was asked about this probable contradiction and the reason why they didn’t change the article, he only answered by asking another question. As such, the confusion remains only three weeks before the law is set to enter its application phase.

Technical Norms for Bitcoin Law Drafted

The Central Bank of Reserves of El Salvador published a draft of a set of norms on Tuesday that will allow a better implementation of the Bitcoin Law. The draft details the duties of the economic agents that will use bitcoin in the Salvadoran economy. The presentation of the document also caused a stir in international cryptocurrency circles, because it states that entities must establish an organizational and functional structure to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing that includes applying KYC measures.

The bank opened a consultation period for changes to be suggested to the document, which will extend until September 6, just one day before the law becomes active. Some dispositions of the law might change during the consultation period. All of this has caused mixed feelings in the Salvadoran population, and some to oppose the new law.

According to a recent poll by Francisco Gavidia University, 77.5% of Salvadorans think that adopting bitcoin as legal tender in the country is a poor or wrong decision.


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