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

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

AccessTimeIconFeb 16, 2022 at 11:16 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 6:39 p.m. UTC

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."


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Stephen  Alpher

Stephen Alpher is CoinDesk's managing editor for Markets. He holds BTC above CoinDesk’s disclosure threshold of $1,000.