World Bank Rejects a Nation's Plea for Bitcoin Help

Institution says it won't help El Salvador due to 'environmental and transparency shortcomings'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2021 8:09 AM CDT
World Bank to El Salvador: Sorry, Can't Help With Bitcoin
This April 5, 2021, file photo shows the World Bank Building in Washington.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

The first country in the world to adopt bitcoin as legal tender recently made a big ask of the World Bank, requesting that the international financial institution help it implement its plans—but it's a no from the group to El Salvador. "This is not something the World Bank can support given the environmental and transparency shortcomings," a spokesperson notes in an email to Reuters, adding that "we are committed to helping El Salvador in numerous ways, including for currency transparency and regulatory processes." Per Axios, the World Bank's rejection could throw a wrench in the country's plans to ease in bitcoin over the next three months.

As a result of El Salvador's government approving legislation earlier this month making bitcoin official legal tender there, alongside the US dollar, the cryptocurrency can now be used in any transaction, unless a business isn't yet technologically able to accept it. President Nayib Bukele had pushed for the plan, explaining it would make it easier for Salvadorans living abroad to send money home, per the BBC. The outlet notes that about 20% of the nation's GDP is made up of such funds, totaling $4 billion or so annually. Salvadoran Finance Minister Alejandro Zelaya says negotiations on the matter of bitcoin continue with the International Monetary Fund, though an IMF rep said last week there were still "a number of macroeconomic, financial, and legal issues that require very careful analysis" regarding El Salvador's incorporation of bitcoin. (More World Bank stories.)

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