El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele said in a national address on Thursday that a recently passed law making bitcoin legal tender will take effect on September 7, noting that its use will be optional. El Salvador’s Congress already approved Bukele’s proposal to embrace the cryptocurrency, making El Salvador the first country in the world to adopt bitcoin as legal tender. “The use of bitcoin will be optional, nobody will receive bitcoin if they do not want it… If someone receives a payment in bitcoin they can choose to automatically receive it in dollars,” said Bukele. Salaries and pensions will continue to be paid in US dollars, said Bukele, without specifying if that included salaries paid to state workers and private sector employees. Earlier in the day, Athena Bitcoin said it plans to invest over $1 million to install some 1,500 cryptocurrency ATMs in El Salvador, especially where residents receive remittances from abroad. According to Athena Bitcoin’s website, the ATMs can be used to buy bitcoins or sell them for cash.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 27th, 2021.

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