Finance & Investment Latin America

El Salvador’s President Hopes Bitcoin As Legal Tender Can Shift Country Out of Third World

El Salvador President, Nayib Bukele

El Salvador’s president, Nayib Bukele, said in a recent interview that he hopes introducing bitcoin into its economy will be the catalyst for its shift from a Third World country to becoming an industrialized, advanced nation.

Bukule defended the small Central American nation’s decision to adopt the cryptocurrency as legal tender in his discussion with the “What Bitcoin Did” podcast host, Peter McCormack after critics warned the move could collapse the country’s economy.

Here are his 9 best quotes from the interview, lightly edited and condensed for clarity:

1. “I think bitcoin as legal tender, even though nobody has done it before, it was a no-brainer.” – on being the first country to make the move.

2. “Bitcoin is an open and free system. So, they don’t have to trust us. They have to trust the system, and we trust the system.” – on anyone sceptical about the use of cryptocurrency as legal tender.

3. “My dream would be that El Salvador will transit its way from the Third World to the First World. It’s probably not going to be done in a couple of years but, you know, probably at least we can set up the path.”  on the potential impact of introducing bitcoin to El Salvador’s economy.

4. “I don’t think they want to understand. Because all of their preconceptions, their theses, their work, their books, their prices will be meaningless, because they were wrong. I don’t think they’re against bitcoin. I think they’re more trying to defend their personal stories.” – on classical economists rejecting bitcoin and its prospects.

5. “Having the World Bank advisors or technical support would have been nice, but we really don’t need it. The talent that is here, working, is way more than enough.” – on the World Bank rejecting El Salvador’s request for support in making bitcoin a legal tender.

6. “This is just exercising our sovereign right to adopt legal tenders. Like we adopted the US dollar in the year 2001. What’s the difference? The only difference probably is the reason why we’re doing this. In 2001, it was probably done for the benefit of the banks. And this decision is done for the benefit of the people.” – on why the country isn’t going to get into a fight with the World Bank.

7. “We’re going to prove ourselves that we can work fast. We have a lot of support and a lot of talent from people that just love this project, and they’re working their asses off, just because they love it.” – on whether El Salvador will be ready when its bitcoin law comes into effect in September.

8. “It’s not going to be only good for the monetary system, or for the currency, or for remittances and for economic inclusion, and for banking services like lending. It’s not only going to be good for the bitcoiners in tourism and investing in jobs, but also for energy and income to do social projects like schools or roads and bridges that without this law, they wouldn’t have that.” – on the expected benefits of incorporating bitcoin and its technology into the economy.

9. “The bitcoin system is so perfect that I think it’s gonna be the future. It is the present already in a lot of things, but it’s gonna be way bigger in the future.” – on the potential for a wave of government adoption of bitcoin.

By Shalini Nagarajan

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