Things aren’t going smoothly for El Salvador just a few days after it fully recognized Bitcoin as legal tender. The tiny Central American country is the first nation in the world to recognize the crypto but amid its swift legislation and a little poorly planned execution, there are cracks appearing in the plan. The main political opposition is utilizing the current scenario to exercise caution and delay/stop the adoption of the crypto in the country at a priority basis.
Anti-Bitcoin protests are starting to be seen across El Salvador. Many of the activists and members of the civil society involved in these protests believe that the Bitcoin decision was made in a haste and without proper consultation with public and experts. They say that this move by the government is shady as no one currently understands how to use the cryptocurrency and it will only benefit high level money launderers and big businesses in illegal tax evasion practices.
There is some truth to the views of the protestors and the El Salvadorian government should listen to them. For one thing, the rollout was a little botched and the government-focused crypto wallet developed bugs within a few hours of rolling out. While that bug was fixed, there is also massive gap in the public’s understanding of the crypto space and as a result, no one understands what to do now once it is legal to own and transact with the cryptocurrency. The government surely needs to drastically improve crypto literacy in the country and build confidence in the new asset class.
The government is also be blamed for inciting some of the anger coming from the protesting camp. While the president Nayib Bukele promised that if no one wanted to use Bitcoin or accept it, they will be allowed to do it, he did crack down on several dissenters who were advocating against this pro-Bitcoin move by the government. This is a violation of basic human rights and the government should immediately release any people illegally incarcerated for speaking out against this. There should be room for dissent in a free society awnd this kind of government crackdown is against the very ethics of transparency that Bitcoin was founded on.
El Salvador needs to up its game and rise to the challenge. Everybody has its eyes on the country as it has become a test case for government-level adoption of Bitcoin. However, the government should refrain from violating basic human rights and improve its public relations because it is not an easy move to successfully undertake. El Salvador is a generally lower income country and just like any other such place, the public is often difficult to manage because of lack of trust between them and the government. This Bitcoin move will be challenged by every major power that doesn’t want the digital currency revolution to succeed around the world. Any poor moves and the cost will be very high.
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