- Nayib Bukele once said that he buys Bitcoin on his bed, naked, for his people, but this lie was exposed later by one of his own members of the cabinet.
- There are also concerns about how the BTC owned by El Salvador is stored and how secure it is from malware and cybersecurity attacks, not to mention who decides when to buy.
El Salvador – the land of crypto, led by a visionary who knows that Bitcoin is the only way to give your people ultimate freedom or by the world’s coolest dictator with a track record of forcing his way who imposed BTC on people who never wanted it at all. Both these descriptions are true depending on who you ask. But regardless of personal opinions for or against Nayib Bukele, there are still some aspects of the El Salvador Bitcoin narrative that remain a puzzle today.
The first is on the purchase of Bitcoin by the state. Bukele is always quick to take to Twitter to announce the latest acquisition of the top cryptocurrency. According to sources within his government, he likes to buy when the prices drop, or buying the dip in Bitcoin lingo.
Nope, I was wrong, didn’t miss it.
El Salvador just bought 410 #bitcoin for only 15 million dollars ?
Some guys are selling really cheap ??♂️ https://t.co/vEUEzp5UdU
— Nayib Bukele (@nayibbukele) January 21, 2022
The assumption has been that the Salvadoran central bank is largely in charge of the purchase of Bitcoin, just like the Federal Reserve prints the greenback and stores the physical gold reserves. But as it emerged in January, Bukele reportedly buys BTC for an entire nation of 6.4 million people, on his phone.
The flamboyant leader even claimed he sometimes does it naked.
— Nayib Bukele (@nayibbukele) January 12, 2022
And then, a few weeks later, it was revealed that Bukele doesn’t even buy the BTC himself as he so often proclaims. In fact, it’s not even done by the central bank or even inside the borders of El Salvador. According to Alejandro Zelaya, the Minister of Finance, there is a team of financial correspondents located in the U.S who make the purchases on behalf of an entire nation.
Speaking in a TV interview, the Minister contradicted the image that Bukele had worked to cultivate – that of a die-hard Bitcoin fan with the executive power to just click “Buy” on a crypto exchange and add BTC to his country’s reserves.
The Minister even contradicted himself. Months prior, the same Minister had claimed that there’s a team from Chivo, the state-issued wallet, that works closely with the President, and that it was Bukele who made the purchase himself when he deems it right.
This is not the only mystery that surrounds El Salvador’s Bitcoin narrative. And with a majority of Salvadorans already against the imposition of BTC as a currency, this mystery has made it easy for them to speculate the worst about what goes on behind the curtains.
Even global BTC skeptics have joined in. Steve Hanke, who is a known critic of the Bukele Bitcoin move, speculated:
He could be robbing the treasury…that is an extreme, and there’s no evidence of that, but there’s no evidence of anything.
Even Bitcoin fans have their doubts about the way Bukele handles the entire process. While convinced that making Bitcoin legal tender was the wise move, they question the implementation by the Bukele government, which they say could end up bungling the initiative and making other countries, who were considering a similar move, recoil.
Nolva Serrano, the head of operations at BlockBank, a crypto wallet, observed:
There are so many things that are not being disclosed. For example, who’s holding the private keys to this Bitcoin? Also, what are the criteria for saying, ‘Oh, today, we’re going to buy more Bitcoin, or we’re going to wait until next month.’ We don’t know that