Despite intense rivalry for the title of “the next Singapore,” Bitcoin maximalist Max Keiser has high hopes El Salvador can rise to the challenge.
El Salvador made Bitcoin legal tender in September 2021, much to the dismay of the international community, including organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
Notwithstanding international pressure and criticisms over the use of public money to bankroll the project, President Bukele has held firm in resisting calls to end the Bitcoin experiment, insisting the move will drive economic growth in the long term.
More than a year after the legal tender bill passed, Keiser spoke about what is happening in the Central American country.
Keiser attributes GDP growth to Bitcoin
Speaking to Andrew Henderson of the Nomad Capitalist YouTube channel, Keiser said the benefits of Bitcoin as legal tender are already being felt in GDP growth of 10.3% for the year ending 2021 and a boom in tourism, with visitor numbers up 83%.
What’s more, concerted efforts to tackle the gang problem are taking effect, with Keiser saying everyday people no longer face the threat of extortion.
“Even down to the pupusa sellers on the street, who were maybe making $5 a day, the gangs would be shaking these people down… this chokes the economy and chokes the will of the people to want to get up and go out there and seize the day…”
As the influence of the gangs has waned, the host of the Max and Stacy Report commented on witnessing “an uptick in entrepreneurial activity” and the roll-out of infrastructure development.
With that, he called out to entrepreneurs, encouraging them to make haste in this “booming emerging market.”
New securities laws in the works
In terms of turning El Salvador into the central financial hub of Latin America, Keiser said the country is “wide open” for digital nomads and immigrants to make their mark. Adding that “a very accommodating program” is on offer for those willing to move there.
As well as that, Bukele’s administration is focusing on delivering a legal framework for securities built on Bitcoin. Elaborating further, Keiser explained that clearing a legacy trade typically takes three days. However, with BTC as the foundation, trades will be cleared once the transaction confirms.
“With Bitcoin, the trade is the clearance. The transaction is the clearance. You’re clearing the trade with the transaction; there’s no time at all. It’s T-zero. So the whole securities industry is going to be built on this concept.”
This method would increase efficiency and also do away with the bureaucracy that accompanies dealing with clearing houses.
Keiser summarized the steps for El Salvador becoming the next Singapore as Bitcoin at the core, geothermal BTC mining for the commodity, appropriate securities laws to support the process, and turnkey solutions for others to replicate the model.