The World Bank has refused El Salvador’s request for help on the country’s transition to adopting Bitcoin (BTC) as legal tender.
It cited issues with Bitcoin’s environmental impact and transparency as reasons why it will not support El Salvador’s move to adopt Bitcoin as an officially accepted currency.
“While the government did approach us for assistance on Bitcoin, this is not something the World Bank can support, given the environmental and transparency shortcomings,” a World Bank spokesperson said.
The World Bank did note, however, that it can help El Salvador in other ways, including “currency transparency and regulatory processes.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Salvadoran finance minister Alejandro Zelaya said the Central America country had sought technical assistance from Banco Mundial (the World Bank).
“I want to announce that we have requested technical assistance from @BancoMundial, so that like @BCIE_Org, they can accompany El Salvador in the implementation and regularization of #Bitcoin as legal tender.”
Prominent Bitcoiners weren’t pleased with the World Bank’s refusal, but nor were they particularly surprised.
Samson Mow, chief strategy officer of blockchain development firm Blockstream and creator of blockchain game Infinite Fleet, was irritated by the news — and called for The World Bank to be made obsolete.
While president Nayib Bukele’s Bitcoin law has sparked a lot of excitement from Bitcoin proponents across the globe, it has also received a lot of criticism. Yesterday, economist Steve Hanke said that El Salvador using Bitcoin as a legal tender may “completely collapse the economy.”
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is also not keen on El Salvador’s embrace of Bitcoin. Cointelegraph reported on Friday that it may hamper negotiations with the IMF over a $1-billion loan to support the country’s economy.
IMF spokesperson Gerry Rice noted the adoption of Bitcoin presents a number of financial, legal and macroeconomic concerns that require a “very careful analysis.”
But some companies are rushing to help. Athena Bitcoin indicated it would move quickly to provide Bitcoin ATMs across El Salvador. On Twitter on Thursday, the firm asked Bukele if “1000 ATMs” were enough, with the president replying in jest “1,000? How about 1,500?”
On Wednesday, El Salvador Minister of Labor and Social Welfare Rolando Castro denied claims that the ministry had begun discussing the option to use Bitcoin for employee salary payments, noting that it was “too premature to talk about wages.”