Bipartisan Senate Proposal Raises Alarm Over El Salvador's Bitcoin Adoption

The legislation quickly drew a sharp rebuke from El Salvador President Nayib Bukele.

Feb 16, 2022 at 11:16 p.m. UTC
Updated Feb 18, 2022 at 8:38 p.m. UTC

Stephen Alpher is CoinDesk's co-regional news chief, Americas. He holds BTC and ETH above CoinDesk’s disclosure threshold of $1,000.

Senators Jim Risch, Bob Menendez and Bill Cassidy's Accountability for Cryptocurrency in El Salvador (ACES) Act would require a State Department report on mitigating risks to the U.S. financial system from El Salvador's adoption of bitcoin as legal tender.

  • "El Salvador recognizing bitcoin (BTC) as official currency opens the door for money laundering cartels and undermines U.S. interests," said Bill Cassidy (R-La.). "If the United States wishes to combat money laundering and preserve the role of the dollar as a reserve currency of the world, we must tackle this issue head on."
  • If passed, the bill would require the State Department to report on a laundry list of subjects with respect to El Salvador and bitcoin, including the flow of remittances from the U.S. to El Salvador, bilateral and international efforts to combat transnational illicit activities, and the potential for reduced use by El Salvador of the greenback.
  • Menendez (D-N.J.) is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Risch (R-Idaho) is the ranking member. (Cassidy is not on the committee.)
  • The move quickly drew a partly comic, partly angry response from El Salvador President Nayib Bukele: "OK boomers ... You have zero jurisdiction on a sovereign and independent nation. We are not your colony, your back yard or your front yard. Stay out of our internal affairs. Don't try to control something you can't control."
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Stephen Alpher is CoinDesk's co-regional news chief, Americas. He holds BTC and ETH above CoinDesk’s disclosure threshold of $1,000.

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Stephen Alpher is CoinDesk's co-regional news chief, Americas. He holds BTC and ETH above CoinDesk’s disclosure threshold of $1,000.

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