El Salvador is looking to introduce legislation that will make it the world's first sovereign nation to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender alongside the US dollar.
At multiday conference Bitcoin 2021 in Miami, Florida, billed as the biggest Bitcoin event in history, President Nayib Bukele announced via video broadcast El Salvador's partnership with digital wallet company Strike to build the country's modern, state-of-the-art financial infrastructure using Bitcoin technology.
Strike founder and CEO Jack Mallers declared that the move will go down as the "shot heard 'round the world for Bitcoin.'" Mallers said that Bitcoin is "both the greatest reserve asset ever created and a superior monetary network."
"Holding bitcoin provides a way to protect developing economies from potential shocks of fiat currency inflation," continued Mallers speaking from the main stage.
Mallers said the adoption will help unleash the power and potential of Bitcoin for everyday use cases on an open network that benefits individuals, businesses, and public sector services. El Salvador is a largely cash economy, in which about 70 percent of people do not have bank accounts or credit cards, CNBC reported.
Remittances, or the money sent home by migrants, account for more than 20 percent of El Salvador's gross domestic product. Incumbent services can charge 10 percent or more in fees for international transfers, which can take days to arrive at times and sometimes require physical pick-up.
While details are still underway about how the rollout will be implemented, CNBC reported that El Salvador has assembled a team of Bitcoin leaders to help build the new financial ecosystem with Bitcoin as the base layer.
"It was an inevitability, but here already: the first country on track to make bitcoin legal tender," said Blockstream CEO Adam Back.
Back said he plans to contribute technologies like Liquid and satellite infrastructure to make El Salvador an innovative model for the world.
"We're pleased to help El Salvador on its journey towards adoption of the Bitcoin Standard," he said. This isn't El Salvador's first pivot towards Bitcoin. In March, Strike launched its mobile payments app there and the program became the number one downloaded application in the country.
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