After speeding ahead to approve Bitcoin as legal tender, El Salvador is now sorting through the messier details of how having BTC as an official national currency would work in real life. El Salvador’s Department of Labor and Social Welfare has clarified that it is not within its authority to determine whether salaries can be paid in Bitcoin, according to Yahoo Finance. The clarification was offered after a minister of the department, Rolando Castro, was reported in local media to have said “it was too premature” to consider changing how government employees get paid.

Fast facts:

  • In the clarification, Castro said it is a matter for the Ministries of Finance and Economy, and the full implications of adopting BTC would be addressed in time.
  • El Salvador became the first nation in the world to pass legislation to make BTC legal tender earlier this month after President Nayib Bukele announced the plan at the Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami. This means BTC can be used to pay taxes and must be accepted by all businesses — hence the need for clarification on how wages can be paid.
  • The Latin American nation — which has a population of 6.5 million and in 2016 was deemed the most violent country in the world — may have to figure things out alone. On Wednesday, Reuters reported the World Bank, citing environmental and transparency issues regarding Bitcoin, declined to help El Salvador with its BTC implementation despite the country’s request for technical assistance.
  • Following El Salvador’s lead, Panamanian opposition politician Gabriel Silva says he is also seeking to make cryptocurrency legal tender in his country. Silva tweeted: “If we want to be a true technology and entrepreneurship hub, we have to support cryptocurrencies.”
  • President Bukele has said using BTC as legal tender would help El Salvadorans by reducing remittance fees and will help address the country’s significant unbanked population.