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‘There is now pressure on competing nations to acquire Bitcoin’

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On the day Bitcoin became legal tender in El Salvador, one man’s breakfast made headlines all over. Journalist Aaron van Wirdum paid in Bitcoin for a McDonald’s breakfast in San Salvador and it made waves.

While the same was welcomed by a majority of the crypto-space, it also fueled a weighty prediction from infamous NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

In response to the aforementioned tweet, Snowden commented,

“Today Bitcoin was formally recognized as legal tender in its first country. Beyond the headlines, there is now pressure on competing nations to acquire Bitcoin — even if only as a reserve asset — as its design massively incentivizes early adoption. Latecomers may regret hesitating.”

Who are these competing nations? Could any of them soon follow El Salvador’s lead?

Studying South America

On El Salvador’s Bitcoin launch day, Panamanian Congressman Gabriel Silva proposed Panama’s own Crypto Law. In doing so, Silva cited jobs, investments, and transparency as potential benefits.

5000 km away from El Salvador, however, Paraguay is usually named when analyzing South America’s Bitcoin scene. In fact, according to some reports, Paraguayan Congressman Carlitos Rejala is even considering legislation for Paraguay to adopt Bitcoin.

It’s worth noting though that Rejala later clarified that his proposed legislation is geared towards regulation, rather than making Bitcoin legal tender.

Across Oceans

This year, crypto-miners fleeing China found Kazakhstan to be a safe haven. Encouraging capital investment, the coal-rich Central Asian country allowed mining equipment to be imported free of taxes. However, it did not regard cryptocurrency as a means of payment.

In the West, Ukraine is also considering a new bill to legalize cryptocurrency payments. Even so, it is unlikely to accept Bitcoin as legal tender. Meanwhile, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has suggested that his nationals could mine cryptocurrency locally instead of opting for low-wage jobs abroad.

For many, cryptocurrencies are the solution to traditional growth challenges or a way to counter the limits of centralized money. Whatever their primary use cases, traditional or otherwise, may be.

Edward Snowden proposing Bitcoin as a solution to the OnlyFans porn ban in August is a case in point.

Bitcoin Colonization

And yet, far from being a perfect fix, El Salvador’s Bitcoin launch day was marked by glitches, errors, a price drop, and clashing emotions.

Journalist Daniel Alvarenga accused podcaster Peter McCormack of misrepresenting local people’s feelings about their new legal tender. He also appeared to call McCormack a “Bitcoin colonizer.”

In turn, McCormack called him a “liar.”

Perhaps, the most accurate answer to how Bitcoin has been received will only be seen in the weeks and months to come.

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Sahana is a full-time journalist at AMBCrypto. She has a Masters in Journalism and her areas of study include crypto-regulation, digital society, privacy, and intersectionality. Ask her about film photography and philately.