FINANCE

EL SALVADOR BANKS THE UNBANKED

GitLab goes public at an $11B valuation to support the hybrid work economy.

JEFF D. OPDYKE

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I t's arguably the most historic financial decision of the year thus far: El Salvador has listed bitcoin alongside the U.S. dollars as "legal tender" in the tiny, Central American nation. That makes El Salvador the first country to accept bitcoin as a national currency.

El Salvador is doing so to help bank the unbanked - one of crypto's original purposes - since roughly 70% of Salvadorans don't have access to traditional banks. The country also hopes to attract tech companies and bitcoin mining firms that want access to super-cheap geothermal power to run their energy-gulping mining rugs.

Whether it all works out, who knows? If it does, it will mark the vanguard of a movement away from overleveraged, debt-addled fiat currencies.

In the meantime, there's a perk for me and you in El Salvador's plan. Invest a minimum of three bitcoin into El Salvador, and you gain permanent residency. With bitcoin in the mid - $30,000 range as I write this, that's a $100,000 investment, on par with St. Lucia and Dominica. Catch the crypto on a down day, and you could collect your three bitcoin for substantially less than $100k.

El Salvador certainly has its set of struggles. Still, it's a beautiful country with unspoiled Pacific Ocean beaches, an economical lifestyle, and it's not yet as busy as Panama or Costa Rica. Whether you pay in bitcoin or dollars, El Salvador's sea views are priceless.

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