Nayib Bukele, El Salvador’s millennial president, is used to making decisions that ring alarm bells among democracy advocates while triggering little concern at home, where he remains wildly popular. But El Salvador’s dramatic moves of the past few days have had the unprecedented effect of producing sharp rebukes across multiple sectors in and out of the country, while generating great excitement in the world of Bitcoin devotees. They were thrilled to see the iconoclastic leader make El Salvador the world’s first country to make the cryptocurrency legal tender.
Starting Tuesday, Bitcoin became an official currency in El Salvador, along with the U.S. dollar, whose adoption two decades ago crushed inflation and brought a measure of stability to a country that had suffered wild economic swings.
More on the digital currency in a moment. But first, it’s important to note the context, in terms of what else is happening in El Salvador.