Anti-Bitcoin Protests Break Out in El Salvador

Citizens and workers in San Salvador are protesting Bitcoin's approval as legal tender.

Shutterstock photo by Natanael Ginting

Key Takeaways

  • Citizens are protesting El Salvador's upcoming Bitcoin laws, which will make the cryptocurrency into legal tender.
  • Hundreds of individuals reportedly attended the protests.
  • The law will take effect on Sept. 8.

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Citizens in El Salvador are protesting the country’s adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender, according to various news sources.

El Salvador Protesters Fill Streets

La Prensa Gráfica suggested that protesters opposed the law on the grounds that it was “imposed … without consulting the people.” Protesters carried signs that read “No To Bitcoin,” “No To Money Laundering,” and “The Working Class Rejects Bitcoin.”

Reuters suggested hundreds of demonstrators attended the protest, which took place in El Salvador’s capital city, San Salvidor.

Elsewhere, Business Insider reported that the Salvadoran Association of International Cargo Carriers (ASTIC) has asserted that its carriers will not accept Bitcoin. If forced, carriers will introduce a 20% surcharge on Bitcoin transactions to offset price volatility.

This is not the first time that the law has been challenged. In July, local newspaper Diario El Mundo noted that members of the Popular Resistance and Rebellion Bloc presented a proposal to repeal the upcoming law. Those groups expressed concerns about Bitcoin’s price volatility and its use in illegal activity, among other issues.

Law Will Take Effect Next Week

El Salvador decided to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender in June, and the new policy will take effect on Sept. 7. The government plans to appeal to business owners by giving them $30 of Bitcoin for free.

It is still unclear whether Bitcoin acceptance will be made mandatory. Statements from President Nayib Bukele dating back to June suggest that businesses will not be required to accept Bitcoin. “Nobody will have to accept bitcoins if they don’t want to,” Bukele stated.

However, the law itself suggests that at least some entities will need to accept Bitcoin, as it reads: “all economic agents must accept bitcoin as a form of payment when it is offered to them by whoever acquires a good or service.”

It is not clear which businesses fall into that category.

Disclaimer: At the time of writing this author held less than $75 of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and altcoins.

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