South American country, El Salvador, has become the first country in the world to formally adopt bitcoin as legal tender after its Congress approved President Nayib Bukele’s proposal to embrace the cryptocurrency.
With 62 out of 84 possible votes, a majority of lawmakers voted in favor of the initiative to create a law that will formally adopt bitcoin, despite concerns about the potential impact on El Salvador’s program with the International Monetary Fund.
Bukele’s move to submit the law to Congress comes after he announced last week that El Salvador has struck a partnership with digital wallet company Strike, to build the country’s modern financial infrastructure using bitcoin technology.
The 39-year-old president, sweetened his offer Sunday saying, via Twitter, his government will give “immediate permanent residence to crypto entrepreneurs.”
In April, bitcoin hit a record high of $64,829.14, but has since dropped by nearly half, according to CoinDesk data. It is still up over 230% over the last 12 months. That rise has been attributed to a number of factors including rising interest from institutional investors and large companies such as Tesla and Square buying bitcoin, according to CNBC.
The US dollar is El Salvador’s official currency.