There have been several pointers to the fact that this year will be a big one for crypto. Asset prices jumped significantly as 2021 began, and the rally stretched on for much longer. Even with the downturn and its ramifications, there is no doubt that 2021 remains the year of digital coins.
But, one aspect of adoption that many didn’t see coming was the increased adoption from countries themselves. The United States and other developed economies have always been thought of as the bellwethers that will signal national crypto adoption. But, several small countries have been deciding to move into the space on their own.
El Salvador Sets the Ball Rolling
The poster child for this movement is El Salvador. In early June, Nayibb Bukele, the president of the Central Asian country, shocked the world when he announced on Twitter that a bill to make Bitcoin legal tender in the country had passed its Legislative Assembly. Bukele announced at the time that the bill will go into law immediately, with the government taking the right steps to provide adequate infrastructure for individuals and businesses to accept and spend cryptocurrencies.
The El Salvador bill was a monumental one for the crypto industry. It marked the dawn of a new age - an age where countries will be able to accept crypto and allow their inhabitants to use these assets as well. Even if the bigger countries don’t decide to accept crypto currently, there is hope in the fact that this revolution has begun.
It is worth noting that this bill hasn’t been met with the most enthusiastic response. Industry insiders and crypto fans have been happy with the news, but some corners of the world haven’t been so enthusiastic. Agencies like the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank have criticized the El Salvador government for the Bitcoin bill.
Even the people of El Salvador haven’t been so receptive. Last month, local news source El Mundo reported that the country’s citizens had taken to the street to protest the Bitcoin law as they believed the government didn’t consult them. At the same time, they believe that Bitcoin will affect the economy going forward.
Argentina Creeping Towards Progress
Despite the mixed receptions, El Salvador’s breakthrough appears to be inspiring several other countries as well. In July, José Luis Ramón, a member of the Argentine Chamber of Deputies, introduced a bill that would allow certain workers in the country to get some or all of their salaries in crypto.
In a tweet, Ramón explained that his bill will apply to people who are “exporters of services: and those who depend on employers for their salaries. If it passes, these workers will be able to choose whether to get some or all of their salaries in crypto and the Argentine pesos.
“The idea is that [workers] can strengthen their autonomy and retain the purchasing power of their remuneration. This initiative stems from the need to promote greater autonomy and governance of wages, without this implying a loss of rights or exposure to situations of abuse within the framework of the employment relationship,” Ramón said.
A report from a local news outlet highlighted that workers who offer services abroad won’t necessarily need to convert their crypto income to the peso. The bill must pass the Argentine Chamber of Deputies and the Senate before President Alberto Fernández can approve it.
Interestingly, Fernández himself has said that he is open to crypto in Argentina. In an interview with a local news source, the President explained that there is no reason to say “No” to crypto - especially since Argentina is facing significant inflation and looking to dollarize its economy.
Uruguay Moves to Clarify Companies in Its Crypto Landscape
Crypto development is also coming to Uruguay. This month, a senator named Juan Sartori introduced a draft bill to regulate crypto and encourage businesses to accept the assets for payments. In a tweet, Sartori explained that the bill will provide a safe environment for the country to use cryptocurrencies.
The bill proposes that cryptocurrencies will be accepted and recognized by law and applicable in all legal businesses. These assets will be considered as a means of payment and added to the channels already included in Uruguay’s Law of Financial Inclusion.
Sartori belongs to Uruguay’s National Party - the country's ruling party with a majority in parliament. If the bill gains support, it will issue three types of licenses for crypto-using companies. The first will be for companies to trade cryptocurrencies - including exchanges.
The second license will allow businesses to “store, retain, and safeguard crypto assets.” As for the third, approved companies will be able to issue crypto assets and utility tokens with financial properties.
The progress with crypto adoption remains slow for now, but there’s no doubt that things are moving quickly. These developments tend to start slowly, but there is significant hope that they will move into the larger economies soon enough.