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bitcoin el salvador

As Crytpo Crumbles, El Salvador Braces for Economic Storm

El Salvador appears to be caught in an economic mess of its own making, prompted by days of chaos in the crypto market.

Bitcoin, which was adopted by the Salvadoran government as an official currency, finds itself in free-fall following the collapse of crypto exchange FTX.

President Nayib Bukele confirmed that El Salvador never had business dealings with FTX, but the razing crisis in the crypto market is shaking his country’s economy to the core.

El Salvador has invested US$107 million in bitcoin since January 2021. Today, the coins are worth less than US$20,000 apiece, a loss of value of more than 60% since January of 2022.

The news hit as the Central American country tries to persuade China to buy its foreign debt in exchange for a free trade agreement. The country owes US$21 billion to foreign creditors, and its next bond payment is due in January of 2023.

Fitch warned investors that El Salvador may default on its bond payments, with other rating agencies continuing to downgrade the country’s sovereign bonds.

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Bukele is often described as a gambler. A year ago, when the IMF advised him not to venture into crypto market, he argued that bitcoin could soon reach a value of US$100,000 per unit. Over the past few days, bitcoin was traded for around US$16,000 apiece.

Narayan Ammachchi

News Editor for Nearshore Americas, Narayan Ammachchi is a career journalist with a decade of experience in politics and international business. He works out of his base in the Indian Silicon City of Bangalore.

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