World Bank Denies El Salvador Assistance With Bitcoin Implementation

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In Brief
  • The World Bank declines El Salvador’s request for assistance with implementing bitcoin.

  • El Salvador recently became the first country to name bitcoin as legal tender.

  • WB mentions environmental and transparency shortcomings of Bitcoin in its statement.

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In an email sent on Wednesday, the World Bank said it cannot provide any assistance to El Salvador as the country implements bitcoin as legal tender

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Despite its commitment to help El Salvador with currency transparency and regulations, the World Bank denied aiding the country’s bitcoin implementation. A spokesperson for the global financial institution cited bitcoin’s environmental and transparency fallibility as the reasons behind their stance,  

“While the government did approach us for assistance on bitcoin, this is not something the World Bank can support given the environmental and transparency shortcomings.”

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This development in El Salvador comes as countries around the world scramble to understand digital currencies.

El Salvador’s bitcoin efforts

Regardless of the World Bank’s decision, El Salvador is a pioneer in the crypto space. Last week, after a monumental ruling, the country became the first in the world to make Bitcoin legal tender. 

The congressional hearing on the issue saw an overwhelming majority in favor of the national crypto adoption. Lawmakers see this as a way to increase “the national wealth for the benefit of the greatest number of inhabitants.” Prices can now be posted in BTC, along with the ability to make tax payments using the cryptocurrency.

El Salvador hopes to become another haven, akin to Malta, that will attract investors and enthusiasts in the space. Crypto entrepreneurs will have the ability to obtain permanent residency in the country, and benefit from no capital gains taxes on their digital assets.

In addition, the country’s president Nayib Bukele said he plans to use volcanoes in the country to mine bitcoin. That announcement came shortly after the country’s historical ruling. By harnessing geothermal energy to create electricity, the country can mine bitcoin with zero carbon emissions.  

Nonetheless, the World Bank’s decision against aiding El Salvador’s bitcoin implementing ventures highlights the global environmental concerns over the cryptocurrency. It remains to be seen if El Salvador’s new mining practices and widespread adoption will alight new trends in the space.

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Savannah Fortis is a multimedia journalist covering stories at the intersection culture, international relations, and technology. Through her travels she was introduced to the crypto-community back in 2017 and has been interacting with the space since.

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