Vitalik Buretin has questioned President Nayab Bukele’s decision to mandate the use of Bitcoin in El Salvador, saying it contradicts the ethics of cryptocurrency.
Mr Buretin, commenting on a Reddit forum titled ‘’Unpopular opinion; El Salvador President Nayib Bukele should not be praised by Crypto Community” said “there is nothing unpopular about this opinion,” adding that “making it mandatory for businesses to accept a specific cryptocurrency is contrary to the ideals of freedom that are supposed to be so important to the crypto space.”
Buretin’s comment seems to be in reference to article 7 of the bitcoin adoption bill which compels “every economic agent” to accept bitcoin as a legal tender.
But in response to criticism and protests in July, President Bukele informed residents via his Twitter account that the use of Bitcoin in El Salvador would be “totally optional” as the government does not intend to force the concept on anyone.
“If someone wants to continue to carry cash, not receive a sign-on bonus, not win over customers who have bitcoin, not grow their business and pay commission on remittances, they can continue to do so,” President Bukele said in the tweet.
Vitalik Buretin also expressed worry about the inadequate crypto education given to El Salvadorans before Bitcoin was introduced as a legal tender.
“tactic of pushing BTC to millions of people in El Salvador at the same time with almost no attempt at prior education is reckless, and risks a large number of innocent people getting hacked or scammed. Shame on everyone (ok, fine, I’ll call out the main people responsible: shame on Bitcoin maximalists) who are uncritically praising him.” he wrote.
Bitcoin has been signed into law as a legal means of payment but a recent study by the Salvadoran Foundation for Economic and Social Development (Fusades) suggests that over 90% of local firms did not conduct any bitcoin-related transaction.