In a surprising legislative decision, El Salvador approved a law offering accelerated citizenship to foreigners who make donations in Bitcoin. The measure, approved by the Legislative Assembly controlled by President Nayib Bukele’s New Ideas party, aims to attract investors in cryptocurrencies to contribute to the country’s social and economic development.
The vote, which took place in an evening session on December 20, marks another step for the country in adopting Bitcoin. The law, which will come into force soon, establishes that foreigners interested in supporting El Salvador’s development projects through Bitcoin donations will be able to obtain citizenship more quickly.
This initiative comes at a crucial time for El Salvador, which seeks to strengthen its economy. The country, under Bukele’s leadership, became the first to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender in 2021. Since then, the cryptocurrency’s implementation has been a gradual process, with limited adoption.
Although there is no minimum amount established for donations, the law highlights the importance of attracting “altruistic foreigners” to boost economic, social and cultural growth. On the date of approval, Bitcoin was trading around $43,700.
In addition to encouraging investment in Bitcoin, the new legislation simplifies the naturalization process for donors. Normally, foreigners from non-Spanish-speaking countries would need to reside in the country for five years to obtain citizenship, or two years if they have a Salvadoran spouse. With the new law, these requirements are significantly reduced.
This move comes as Bukele’s government faces financial challenges, seeking a new financing agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF has expressed concerns about the risks associated with the country’s adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender.
The decision to allow Bukele’s re-election has also generated controversy. El Salvador’s Constitution appears to prohibit consecutive terms in office, but the country’s top court, whose members are appointed by Congress, ruled that Bukele can run again. This decision attracted international criticism, including from the United States.
The views and opinions expressed by the author, or anyone mentioned in this article, are for informational purposes only and do not constitute financial, investment or other advice. Investing or trading cryptocurrencies carries a risk of financial loss.