El Salvador's largest bank now accepts bitcoin (BTC) payments

Bancoagrícola accepts Bitcoin

This September 7, 2021, a month and a half after its approval by the Assembly, the “Bitcoin Law” became effective in El Salvador. “Any economic agent” must accept the use of BTC as a legal form of payment under the law.

Thus, the country’s largest bank, Bancoagrícola will allow BTC payments via its mobile app through a collaboration with Flexa. Customers will be able to pay loans and bank card fees in BTC at the “exact market rate, with no additional fees or spreads.» The option is designed to work with any Lightning Network-enabled wallet, including El Salvador’s official wallet, Chivo.

Businesses operating in El Salvador, including Starbucks and McDonald’s, are now required to accept BTC as a payment method. Consumers, meanwhile, have the option of paying in bitcoin or sticking to the local currency, the US dollar. To date, El Salvador was one of the few non-US nations to use the dollar as its official currency. Other countries in this situation include Ecuador, Somalia and Cambodia (note only).

End of MoneyGram and Western Union’s stranglehold?

If El Salvador’s bitcoin adoption policy proves successful, international payment handlers such as MoneyGram and Western Union could lose up to $400 million a year, according to the country’s president.

Indeed, remittances account for a significant portion of El Salvador’s gross domestic product (GDP) (about 23% in 2020) and 70% of the population reportedly receives money from abroad.

Last August, the Central American Bank for Economic Integration, or CABEI, said that the adoption of Bitcoin as a legal currency could have a positive impact on remittances in the region. At the time, the BCIE promised to help the country set up a technical framework and comply with international anti-money laundering standards.

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About the author : Florent David

El Salvador's largest bank now accepts bitcoin (BTC) payments

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Engaged in the crypto ecosystem since 2017. I am particularly interested in decentralized finance (DeFi), Ethereum 2.0 and non-fungible tokens (NFT).
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