El Salvador’s legislative assembly has approved a large trust one week before Bitcoin (BTC) becomes legal tender.
The allocated $150 million will – among other things – help facilitate exchange with the US dollar, which is the nation’s other official currency.
To finance the trust, $500 million will be redirected from a previous loan with the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) to aid small and medium-sized companies.
Of the funds, $23.3 million will be used to build the Chivo ATM systems, and another $30 million will reportedly be used to help citizens learn how to use the Chivo wallet.
El Salvadoran Minister of Economy María Luisa Hayém Brevé said that there was a possibility of increasing the amount allocated to the trust.
The country will become the world’s first to recognize BTC as legal tender on September 7th, and the decision has not come without controversy, including several protests. The backlash stems from a range of fears – many are concerned that BTC’s fluctuating value in relation to US dollars could negatively impact their pensions, while other citizens believe Bitcoin will facilitate money-laundering.
Bukele has stressed that the use of BTC will be optional for citizens.
“Nobody will receive Bitcoin if they don’t want it… If someone receives a payment in Bitcoin they can choose to automatically receive it in dollars [instead].”
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