El Salvador president buys more Bitcoin amid crash

el salvador bitcoin
Photo: Sergio Rojo/Shutterstock

President Nayib Bukele of El Salvador — the first country to turn Bitcoin into legal tender in 2021 — seems unfazed by the recent cryptocurrency crash which has wiped out more than USD 700 billion since early May. On Thursday, he announced the purchase of 80 new bitcoins at a cost of USD 19,000 each.

“Bitcoin is the future! Thank you for selling cheap,” Mr. Bukele joked. The digital coin has had its biggest quarterly drop in a decade. According to CoinDesk, El Salvador was already 55 percent down on its bitcoin bet. From September to date, the country has acquired 2,301 coins for a total of USD 103.9 million, but its portfolio is currently worth USD 46.6 million.

It is not the first time the Bukele administration has dismissed citizens’ and experts’ concerns that this cryptocurrency quest could lead to national bankruptcy — even the World Bank rejected El Salvador’s request for technical support last year. 

El Salvador’s Finance Minister Alejandro Zelaya recently said, “the fiscal risks [of using bitcoin as a tender] are minimal.” Many Salvadorans, however, are skeptical. One man replied to Mr. Bukele’s tweet saying “it’s easy to be a great investor when others pay for your mistakes.”