The bitcoin agenda in El Salvador has produced some unexpected side effects. The country is experiencing a huge boom in tourism thanks to its newfound love of crypto.
El Salvador Is Seeing a Lot More Visitors
El Salvador announced last year that it was going to make bitcoin legal tender. It was the first nation to do so, and right now, someone can walk into a store or organization and purchase items and services with digital currency along with fiat. While the use of bitcoin is not being forced on the people, they have the choice, and businesses must treat customers who choose to pay with bitcoin in the same manner as they would customers that purchase with fiat.
The boost in tourism began roughly six months after the nation declared BTC official money. It appears people are beginning to enter the bitcoin frame of mind that El Salvador is looking to take advantage of, and the country is now earning heavy amounts of income thanks to its visitors. Morena Valdes – the head of the Ministry of Tourism in El Salvador – said in a recent interview:
The implementation of bitcoin benefitted the sector. More tourists have come to see how cryptocurrency works. We did a poll to check the activity, according to the before and after of bitcoin. The tourism sector increased in November and December more than 30 percent.
The goal of the nation when it first adopted bitcoin was to ensure it was no longer dependent on any other country or currency. Up to that point, El Salvador was widely dependent on USD, though with its newfound devotion to bitcoin, the country has opened a new wallet system known as “Chivo” that would allow individuals throughout the country to gain access to the world’s number one digital currency by market cap.
El Salvador’s bitcoin journey, while ultimately successful, has not always been easy for its government or its people. When the country first announced that it would allow bitcoin payments, it encountered quite a bit of hostility from organizations like the World Bank, which stated that it would not be assisting the country with the implementation of its bitcoin agenda. The World Bank stated that bitcoin was too volatile to take seriously, and thus El Salvador was entering very shaky territory.
Many Agencies Want the Country to Turn Away
Not long ago, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) practically begged El Salvador to turn away from bitcoin forever and reject cryptocurrency. In response, President Nayib Bukele mocked the organization on Twitter and reaffirmed the nation’s stance, saying that El Salvador would be an independent, sovereign nation that could sort out its own financial initiatives.
Bukele has also taken issue with U.S. congressmen working to implement a new bill that would disallow the nation’s bitcoin dealings if they interfered with American interests.