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« Nayib Bukele’s bitcoinmania displeases three quarters of Salvadorans »

THESalvador wants to be at the forefront of the current dual transition, digital and energy. Its president has already made it, in early September, the first country to use bitcoin as an official currency, alongside the dollar. Nayib Bukele unveiled on Saturday, November 20, the project of a « Bitcoin City ». Funded by a debt denominated in this cryptocurrency through bonds issued in 2022, the circular city reminiscent of a coin will be built at the foot of the Conchagua volcano: geothermal energy will power the city and bitcoin mining.

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Baseball cap tucked in backwards on the head and microphone in hand, the former businessman sketched it out in broad strokes: “Residential areas, shopping areas, services, museums, entertainment, bars, restaurants, airport, port, railway everything is devoted to bitcoin « . Mr. Bukele wants to entice foreign investors. His city will be « Zero CO emissions2 «  and no other taxes than VAT will be levied there. Its cost? No less than 300,000 bitcoins, or 1.7 billion dollars (about 1.5 million euros) at the current rate.

Populist authoritarian tendency

The project of the young head of state (40 years) is not surprising. Baptized « Millennium president » for his systematic use of social networks, a populist authoritarian tendency, he says he wants to modernize his country. But unlike its previous political and economic initiatives, often very popular, its “bitcoinmania” displeases three quarters of Salvadorans, who fear instability and inflation due to the extreme volatility of this currency.

Mr. Bukele is seeking to include his small country in the great movement of cryptocurrencies, whose global outstanding amounts to 2.7 trillion dollars. Everyone is now interested in this financial industry, under the critical gaze of central banks. After allowing it to happen, Beijing has just banned mining and transactions, but is preparing a national currency. Like digital platforms, cryptocurrencies are not immune to the decoupling of entire sections of the economy between China and the rest of the world.

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