El Salvador to build cryptocurrency-fuelled ‘Bitcoin City’
Tell House Panel Virtual Currency Trading Can’t Be Stopped
In a rock concertlike atmosphere, El Salvador President Nayib Bukele announced that his government will build an oceanside “Bitcoin City” at the base of a volcano.
Bukele used a gathering of Bitcoin enthusiasts on Saturday night to launch his latest idea, much as he used a an earlier Bitcoin conference in Miami to announce in a video message that El Salvador would be the first country to make the cryptocurrency legal tender, A bond offering would happen in 2022 entirely in Bitcoin, Bukele said. And 60 days after financing was ready, construction would begin. The city will be built near the Conchagua volcano in the Gulf of Fonseca to take advantage of geothermal energy to power both the city and Bitcoin mining — the energy-intensive solving of complex mathematical calculations day and night to verify currency transactions.
The government will provide land and infrastructure and work to attract investors.
The only tax collected there will be the value-added tax, half of which will be used to pay the municipal bonds and the rest for municipal infrastructure and maintenance. Bukele said there would be no property, income or municipal taxes and the city would have zero carbon dioxide emissions.
The city would be built with attracting foreign investment in mind. There would be residential areas, malls, restaurants and a port, Bukele said.
“Invest here and earn all the money you want,” Bukele said at the closing of the Latin American Bitcoin and Blockchain Conference being held in El Salvador. Bitcoin has been legal tender alongside the US dollar since September 7. The government is already running a pilot Bitcoin mining venture at another geothermal power plant beside the Tecapa volcano. The government is backing Bitcoin with a $150 million fund. To incentivise Salvadorans to use it, the government offered $30 worth of credit to those who use its digital wallet. Bitcoin was originally created to operate outside government controlled financial systems.