The Benefits of Bitcoin for developing economies

On September 7th 2021, El Salvador became the first country in the world to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender. This ushered a new age with many developing countries considering similar routes. This shift in public policy stems from a need for reduced international transfer fees and an increase in economic autonomy for developing countries. This approach also comes with certain risks that the people of the countries should be educated about. We will be discussing those risks in another article.

Reduced transaction fees & shorter transaction time For Remittances

To make international transfers, exchange rates as well as processing fees can take up to 6% of the total payment. Sometimes, those fees can be higher. With cryptocurrency transactions, the fees are 1% or less of total transactions. Additionally, international transfers may take up to 5 days to clear, while cryptocurrency transactions often clear within minutes. The adoption of Bitcoin in El Salvador will lead to an increase in remittances thanks to lower transaction fees. This in turn helps increase external funds that go right into El Salvador’s economy.

Increased access to investment loans for the unbanked

Over 70% of people in El Salvador don’t have a bank account. This is an issue that many developing economies also face. This is a hindrance to development because most unbanked do not have access to loans, investments or other banking services. With the adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender, a significantly higher number of people will have increased access to those banking services as just one only need a smartphone to own Bitcoins. In addition, as the technology evolves and more El Salvadorans create a track record, they may be able to borrow much more easily to finance their business endeavors. This in turn will create more jobs and economic growth. With Bitcoin being a store of value in other parts of the world, it constitutes a de-facto investment vehicle for those who wish to save their bitcoins.

Increased foreign direct investments

The use of Bitcoin as currency in El Salvador may lead to an in direct foreign investments. As this article from Entrepreneur explains, a whole new set of infrastructures such as payment platform developers, ATM manufacturers, and bitcoin miners would need to be put in place to support this new way of life for El Salvadorans. This will in turn lead to the creation of more crypto-industry jobs in El Salvador.

Increased purchasing power & intra-regional trade

Bitcoin can help citizens from El Salvador and other developing economies, especially in Africa, increase their purchasing power. Many Latin American and African countries have historically struggled with Inflation. In the 1990s, the CFA in West and East Africans lost a significant part of their value. This led to a decrease in the purchasing power of citizens in those regions. Adopting bitcoin as a legal tender will help prevent such lost in purchasing power and increase trade among countries with different currencies. Additionally, Africa is the continent with the lowest level of regional trade. One reason for this is the high number of different currencies in Africa. Adopting Bitcoin will help African countries trade more with each other and with other countries accepting the digital currency as legal tender.

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