In El Salvador, Bitcoin and Authoritarian Excess

In El Salvador, Bitcoin and Authoritarian Excess

“Bitcoin Day,” headlined Victory’s El Salvador daily, close to power, this Tuesday, Sept. 7. “Bitcoin was launched between skepticism and rejection,” the opposition newspaper El Diario de Hoy said subtly. In El Salvador, the first day of the cryptocurrency’s official circulation began with a computer bug, and the Chivo Wallet application needed to run the wallet had to be disabled for several hours to resolve technical issues and increase the capacity of the servers.

The Day El Salvador Converted to Bitcoin
Throughout the day, President Nayib Bukele himself acted as a techie on his favorite social network, Twitter, in turn advising users to wait or restart the app before using the government-provided $30 (€25) in bitcoin for anything from Chivo Wallet download.

“It’s a simple problem that cannot be solved by a connected system,” he explained, before announcing that the government had obtained 550 bitcoins, or $22.4 million (about 189 million euros), on Tuesday night, when the crypto The currency has lost nearly 10% of its value since the morning. “How come I only have 26 bucks left in my wallet and I haven’t bought anything yet?”, has surprised some internet users, ignoring the extreme volatility of cryptocurrencies.

distrust and rejection
During this period, several demonstrations gathered in the streets of San Salvador, for the second time in a week, against the introduction of bitcoin and far from unanimous. This is the first time a measure by the still very popular President Bukele has drawn so much distrust and rejection: 70% of El Salvadorans, according to a poll by the University of Central America, Jose-Simon-Canas disagree with the decision, warning economists unanimously that the country could become a tax haven for money laundering.

Bitcoin, crime or free cryptocurrency
Other demonstrators also protested against new authoritarian measures taken in recent days. There are concerns that historic Bitcoin news and mainstream media headlines are overshadowing the attacks on the rule of law reported by many observers.

On August 31, the Legislative Assembly, dominated by the presidential party Nuevas Ideas, approved a law that automatically retires all judges and prosecutors over the age of 60 or 30 years of seniority, or about one-third, since May 1. “This is the end of corrupt judges,” the president said cheerfully, without specifying how such a measure would make the fight against corruption possible. Like the Bitcoin law in June, the text was not approved by any committee and was approved after just an hour of parliamentary debate.

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