In a bold move, the government of El Salvador has teamed up with Tether, the stablecoin company, to unveil a pioneering initiative named “Adopting El Salvador Freedom.” Under this initiative, foreigners can secure a Salvadoran passport by investing $1 million in Bitcoin.
This announcement comes following El Salvador’s groundbreaking decision in 2021 to embrace Bitcoin as legal tender, a move that made waves globally. Mandating businesses to accept Bitcoin and introducing the digital wallet “Chivo” with a $30 Bitcoin sign-up bonus aimed to encourage citizen participation.
However, the path to Bitcoin adoption in the country hasn’t been smooth. The decision was met with widespread protests by Salvadorans concerned about President Nayib Bukele’s perceived autocratic tendencies. Despite governmental incentives, the majority of citizens remained attached to cash transactions, resisting the shift to cryptocurrency.
President Bukele’s extensive investments of federal funds into Bitcoin, including the announcement of “Bitcoin City,” took a severe hit when the cryptocurrency’s value nosedived. From an all-time high of nearly $69,000 in November 2021, Bitcoin’s value plunged to under $17,000 at the beginning of 2023. This precipitous drop raised doubts about the viability of the government’s crypto-centric strategies.
Now, with the introduction of the “Adopting El Salvador Freedom” program, the nation appears to be doubling down on its integration of Bitcoin into national policy, opening doors for high net worth individuals seeking citizenship in exchange for substantial Bitcoin investments. This latest move underscores El Salvador’s continued experimentation at the intersection of cryptocurrency and governance, despite previous setbacks and controversies.