El Salvador adopted bitcoin, although with some initial setbacks.
Countries like Chile, Panama, Guatemala and Honduras are making progress in regulation.
The week that has just ended had a clear protagonist: El Salvador. On Tuesday, September 7, the Central American country became the first in the world to adopt bitcoin (BTC) as legal tender, a milestone for both bitcoiners and world economies.
As expected, most of the news for the bitcoiner ecosystem was related in some way to what happened in El Salvador. But in this newsletter from CriptoNoticias we present that and something more about bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in Spanish-speaking countries, including, among other things, the Blockchain Summit Latam, which took place virtually all week:
We began the weekly tour of the Spanish-speaking countries with Argentina, where there were new advances in the adoption of bitcoin as a means of payment: both in the pre-sale of real estate in the renowned Palermo neighborhood, in Buenos Aires; as for the tire change service.
Also in the southernmost country of the American continent, a BTC merchant operating on the P2P exchange LocalBitcoins was sentenced to 5 years in prison, after being found guilty of money laundering with the main cryptocurrency on the market.
In Chile, a project of land to regulate the activity of financial technology or fintech companies. The country’s president, Sebastián Piñera, sent the so-called Financial Innovation Bill for discussion in the Congress of the South American country.
Let’s move on to Colombia. Although in this first news there is also a mention of Argentina: a survey carried out in both countries, in addition to Mexico, revealed that the majority of citizens in these nations would support the adoption of bitcoin as happened in El Salvador.
During the Blockchain Summit Latam, regulatory aspects in Colombia were discussed. In one of the panels, legislator Mauricio Toro assured that the Colombian State has created “tax and legal barriers” that affect a possible regulation of cryptocurrencies in the country, while banks seek to appropriate the activity.
In another of the panels of the event, the effect of the regulatory sandbox in Colombia was discussed. Bryan Benson, representative of the Binance exchange in the region, considered that the sandbox has brought so far “more challenges than achievements.” Meanwhile, the president of Colombia Fintech, Erick Rincón, qualified by saying that “the journey has served innovation a lot.”
We come to the highlight of this weekly summary: El Salvador officially adopted BTC as legal tender, with the entry into force of the Bitcoin Law last Tuesday. And the news about this was many: from the continuation of the protests against the measure to the problems with which the purse created by the government, Chivo Wallet, arrived, both in its use and in its security. Beyond Chivo’s stumbling blocks, the government assured that it will provide house-to-house training for its use.
The Salvadoran government prepared for the entry into force of the law with a couple of purchases of 200 bitcoins. And on the same Tuesday, once the cryptocurrency was already legal tender in the country, President Nayib Bukele announced the purchase of another 150 BTC after a steep drop of up to 14% in the market price of bitcoin. Total, the country already maintains a position of 550 bitcoins.
The country has been adapting to the new economy that bitcoin represents, with businesses such as McDonald’s or Pizza Hut announcing that they accept payments with the cryptocurrency. Meanwhile, Banco Agrícola will accept BTC for its customers’ credit card payments.
On the other hand, the adoption of bitcoin could save Salvadorans up to $ 400 million a year. This saving would be in commissions for sending remittances that services such as Western Union or MoneyGram usually charge and that with BTC they would not have to continue paying.
Guatemala and Honduras
Although they do not plan to adopt bitcoin, the measure taken by El Salvador appears to have had an effect in other countries. Such is the case of Guatemala and Honduras, whose central banks are exploring the creation of their own digital currencies (CBDC) to advance in adapting to a new economy.
For its part, in Mexico there is no disposition to follow in El Salvador’s footsteps. It was made clear by the governor of the Bank of Mexico, Alejandro Díaz de León, by ensuring that bitcoin cannot be considered as money.
The one that is willing to support the neighboring country on its path with cryptocurrency is the Mexican exchange Bitso. Not only did the government of El Salvador buy its BTC through this company, but it would also support operations with the Chivo Wallet purse.
Meanwhile, Congressman Gabriel Silva presented a draft bill for the regulation of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies before the Panamanian Assembly. According to Silva himself, the first objective of his proposal is to give legal security to cryptocurrencies in the country.
This week, CriptoNoticias interviewed Janice Becerra and Rodrigo Icaza, both members of the Chamber of Digital Commerce and Blockchain (CCDB) of Panama. Both spoke about the proposed laws that exist to regulate bitcoin in the country.
On another note, one of the founders of the CCDB, Aldo Antinori, explained that properties paid for with bitcoin are being sold in the country. According to their statements, Panamanians are appealing for this modality in view of the limitations and demands of local banks.
Peru is not discussing a regulation or legalization of bitcoin, but it is will offer financing to projects and companies that use blockchains. The funds will be granted by the Ministry of Production, as we report in this medium.
In Venezuela, the arrest of the Spanish computer scientist Alex Sicart, creator of the Shasta app, was announced this week. Sicart, accused of fraud, money laundering and criminal association, was arrested last August in the city of Caracas. Investigations are being carried out against the 22-year-old businessman not only in Venezuela, but in Spain, his country of origin.
To close, from this week Venezuelans can change their SLP tokens of the game Axie Infinity for the local currency, the bolivar, through the Binance P2P market. This was announced by the company itself.
Events of the week
Among the events related to bitcoin, cryptocurrencies and blockchains, the CriptoNoticias calendar highlights the following:
- Monday September 13: «Digital currencies», organized by Web3 Latam.
- Tuesday, September 14: «DefiNation», Web3 Latam event.
- Wednesday September 15: «Web3 Analytics». Organized by Web3 Latam.
- Thursday September 16: “Introductory talk to Bitcoin and Blockchain”, by the NGO Bitcoin Argentina.
- Friday, September 17: «Blockchain X Social Impact», by Web3 Latam.
Merchants that accept cryptocurrencies in Spanish-speaking countries
Do you know or do you have a small business that accepts bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for its products and services?
We invite you to share the information with us through [email protected] We will report on the adoption of cryptocurrencies of that business in any of the Spanish-speaking countries.