El Salvador adds nearly US$25m in bitcoin to state coffers, says president

An electronic device that displays bitcoin prices is seen in a Starbucks store in Antiguo Cuscatlan, El Salvador September 8, 2021. — Reuters pic
An electronic device that displays bitcoin prices is seen in a Starbucks store in Antiguo Cuscatlan, El Salvador September 8, 2021. — Reuters pic

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SAN SALVADOR, Oct 28 ― The Salvadoran government acquired 420 more bitcoin on Wednesday, President Nayib Bukele announced on social media, as the Central American doubled down on its splashy cryptocurrency experiment.

The latest purchase of bitcoin, worth nearly US$25 million (RM103.8 million) at current prices, marks the first government acquisition of the cryptocurrency since Sept. 20, when Bukele said it had bought 150 bitcoins.

“It was a long wait, but worth it. We just bought the dip! 420 new bitcoin,” Bukele wrote in a post on Twitter in English.

The cryptocurrency currently trades at just above US$59,000 per bitcoin.

Earlier last month, El Salvador became the first country in the world to adopt bitcoin as legal tender alongside the US dollar, which Bukele has argued will lower the cost of remittances from Salvadoran migrants living overseas.

Traditional banks and other financial institutions typically charge hefty fees to process the money transfers.

Overall, El Salvador’s treasury holds 1,120 bitcoin, according to official data, worth nearly US$66 million.

The impoverished country’s economy is heavily dependent on around US$6 billion in remittances sent home each year, or about a quarter of gross domestic product, with around one fifth of households dependent on the cash infusions. ― Reuters

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