SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly approved a law making Bitcoin cryptocurrency legal tender in the country, the first country to do so, just days after President Nayib Bukele made the proposal at a Bitcoin conference.

Digital currency can be used in any transaction and any business will need to accept payment in Bitcoin except those that don’t have the technology to do so. The US dollar will remain El Salvador’s main currency and no one will be forced to pay in Bitcoin, according to legislation approved on Tuesday evening.

“Every restaurant, every barber shop, every bank – everything can be paid for in US dollars or Bitcoin and no one can refuse payment,” Mr Bukele said during a one-hour social media meeting with thousands of US-based Bitcoiners as the bill was debated. Tuesday evening.

The exchange rate between the two currencies will be established by the market. The dollar will remain the reference currency.

The Ministry of Economy noted that 70% of Salvadorans do not have access to traditional financial services and that the country “must allow the circulation of a digital currency whose value exclusively follows the criteria of the free market” to stimulate the growth.

The law would create mechanisms to help Salvadorans, especially small businesses, quickly convert the payments they receive from Bitcoins to dollars – helping them avoid the risk of falling in value, as the latter has done. days.

“They have to take Bitcoin, but they don’t have to take the risk,” Mr. Bukele said. “We can make money or lose it, but it doesn’t matter. The purpose of the trust fund is not to make money but to help make Bitcoin legal tender. “

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