Vitalik Buterin: Bitcoin fans “ignored” El Salvador’s undemocratic government

Vitalik Buterin: Bitcoin fans “ignored” El Salvador’s undemocratic government

Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin has again criticized the Bitcoin community’s enthusiasm for El Salvador and its president Nayib Bukele, saying that many Bitcoin advocates have ignored the fact that Bukele’s government is “not very democratic.”

“This is one of my criticisms of the Bitcoin community: they automatically love all the rich and powerful who support Bitcoin,” Buterin said in a video interview with Straits Times.

According to the Ethereum founder, many Bitcoin people ignored the fact that Bukele’s government is not a very democratic government that actually has many problems and they are not very good at respecting the freedoms of others.

El Salvador was the world’s first nation to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender, making it mandatory for merchants across the country to accept the largest cryptocurrency as a payment option. The move triggered widespread dissatisfaction among residents and businesses.

First announced at the Bitcoin Miami conference in June 2021, El Salvador’s Bitcoin Law has won Bukele praise from some of the loudest voices in Bitcoin. However, Bukele’s regime has come under fire for its well-documented authoritarian tendencies and the forced nature of its Bitcoin rollout.

El Salvador’s Bitcoin Adoption ‘Not Very Sustainable’

El Salvador’s Bitcoin law was introduced in the midst of the crypto bull run, with the price of Bitcoin peaking at over $69,000 last November.

Since then, the crypto market has plummeted, with Bitcoin down over 76% from its all-time high.

Buterin believed that El Salvador’s Bitcoin adoption model was based on an expectation that prices will continue to go up, but as Bitcoin ended up going down, “now it just looks terrible and not many people are using it.”

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“Basically, just the way Bitcoin adoption was done, very top-down enforced, it just ended up not being very sustainable,” Buterin said. Despite the falling price of Bitcoin, Bukele’s regime remains committed to adopting Bitcoin; last week the president announced that El Salvador would start buying one Bitcoin every day.

This is not the first time the Canadian programmer has criticized Bukele’s embrace of Bitcoin as legal tender. Commenting on the matter last year, Buterin said that “making it mandatory for businesses to accept a specific cryptocurrency is contrary to the ideals of freedom that are supposed to be so important to the crypto space.”

He also questioned “the tactic of pushing BTC to millions of people in El Salvador at the same time, with almost no attempt at prior education,” calling it a “reckless” move that exposed innocent people to the risk of hacks or fraud.

“Shame on everyone (okay, fine, I call out the main ones responsible: shame on Bitcoin maximalists) who uncritically praise him,” Buterin said at the time.

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