Bitcoin in El Salvador sparks crypto currency debate

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El Salvador's adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender, the first country to make the move, was greeted with a bout of volatility for the world’s largest cryptocurrency. 

Prices slipped to the $47,000 level after hitting nearly $53,000 a few hours earlier, as skeptics debate whether it will be a success. 

Brock Pierce, chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation, tells FOX Business that El Salvador’s adoption is a "very big deal" and will pave the way for more countries to follow. 

"What’s happening here has gotten the attention of other governments," he said, noting that Panama and Honduras could be next in the queue as well as other South American countries. 

El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele was promoting the Bitcoin push on Twitter, focusing on the price as well as establishments accepting the crypto, including Yum Brands Pizza Hut. 

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
YUMYUM! BRANDS, INC.129.01-1.91-1.46%

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Still, critics, including seasoned global investor Mark Mobius, panned the idea. 

Chairman of Franklin Templeton’s Emerging Markets Group Mark Mobius speaks during a news conference in Mumbai March 28, 2011. Veteran emerging markets investor Mobius said on Monday he does not have any direct holdings in Indian infrastructure firms

"El Salvador, let’s face it, it’s on its back, it's got real problems, it’s a bankrupt country so they’re grasping at straws with bitcoin," he told Bloomberg. "So I don’t think it’s going to spread to other countries. Maybe a few other countries, Cuba, other countries that have financial problems will adopt it." 

Pierce didn’t disagree with Mobius’ assessment of the country, but instead says Bitcoin is a way forward.

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"The status quo isn’t working, so let’s do something different," he said noting that 70% of the country remains unbanked and if Bitcoin is successful there will be a drop in that number over the next 12 months. 

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