The use of bitcoin and a digital wallet in El Salvador will be "totally optional," and businesses that do not accept the cryptocurrency will not be sanctioned, El Salvador’s finance minister, Alejandro Zelaya, said Tuesday.
In a televised interview during the program "Frente a Frente" hosted by journalist Moisés Urbina, Zelaya said the U.S. dollar will remain as the main currency of reference in the country, and will be the one which businesses, the government and all others will use for their accounting.
Zelaya’s comments contradicted article 7 of the Bitcoin Law passed in June, which stipulated that bitcoin must be accepted as a form of payment by "every economic agent."
Asked whether it was necessary to eliminate that article, Zelaya asked why and did not expand on the subject.
El Salvador’s Central Bank did not clarify matters on Tuesday in a consultative draft with technical standards to facilitate the application of the Bitcoin Law. The draft stated that the institutions obliged to comply with these standards will be banks, cooperative banks and savings and credit societies “interested” in providing the service of convertibility of dollars and bitcoin and vice versa.
In another document, entitled "Guidelines for the Authorization of the Operation of the Digital Wallet Platform for Bitcoin and Dollars," the Central Bank of El Salvador stipulates that wallets will need to implement know-your-customer policies.
“Clients of the digital wallet may be individuals and legal entities resident or not in the country that comply with the requirements and standards of know your customer and prevention of money and asset laundering, financing of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,” the document stated, adding that those requirements will be “established following the technical norms issued by the Central Bank for these purposes and the international treaties and conventions issued in this regard.”
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.
Learn more about Consensus 2023, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.