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While El Salvador attracts more tourists, American lawmakers are still pushing for a risk report on whether the Bitcoin-friendly nation is a potential threat to the US.
Last month, senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), ranking member and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, reintroduced a bipartisan bill asking for a State Department report on El Salvador’s adoption of Bitcoin and potential impacts on bilateral economic relations and law enforcement cooperation.
The bill, the Accountability for Cryptocurrency in El Salvador (ACES) Act, was first introduced back in February last year by Risch, Menedez and Bill Cassidy (R-La.).
“Given U.S. interest on prosperity and transparency in Central America, we must seek greater clarity on how the adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender may impact El Salvador’s financial and economic stability, as well as El Salvador’s capacity to effectively combat money laundering and illicit finances,” a Foreign Relations Committee blog post says.
The lawmakers want an analysis of El Salvador’s adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender and “the risks for cybersecurity, economic stability, and democratic governance in El Salvador.”
El Salvador made headlines in 2021 when it became the first country in the world to make Bitcoin legal tender.
President Nayib Bukele has bought large amounts of the cryptocurrency and businesses in El Salvador now have to accept Bitcoin by law if they have the technological means to do so.
President Bukele’s Bitcoin experiment has been praised by those in the cryptocurrency world, but criticized by institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World bank.
Saifedean Ammous, author of “The Bitcoin Standard,” this week became the newest economic advisor to El Salvador’s National Bitcoin Office (ONBTC)—an entity managing “all matters relating to cryptocurrency” in the country.
Give Your Bitcoin to the Poor, Salvadoran Economist Urges Nayib Bukele
El Salvador, once one of the most murderous countries on the planet, now has a low homicide rate following the Bukele government’s crackdown on street gangs.
The dramatic drop in crime is helping draw tech bros and surfers to the Central American nation but human rights groups have criticized the regime—alleging its mass incarceration of criminals is authoritarian.
Meanwhile, the U.S. seems to be cracking down on Bitcoin: since the collapse of mega digital asset exchange FTX in November, American regulators have made it harder to do business for crypto companies in the world’s biggest economy. (The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler has said Bitcoin is a commodity.)
But Bitcoin—and the cryptocurrency industry—is a hot topic for next year’s presidential election. Florida governor and hopeful Ron DeSantis has voiced his love for Bitcoin.