The Central American nation is doubling down on its ambitions to lead in crypto diplomacy, having opened a “Bitcoin office” in Switzerland last year. El Salvadoran ambassador to the US Milena Mayorga tweeted February 15 that she had met with Texas Deputy Secretary of State Joe Esparza to discuss opening a “Bitcoin embassy” in the American state.
While the Texas Secretary of State office confirmed that they had met with Mayorga “to discuss opportunities for cultural and commercial exchange,” they did not elaborate any further details.
It isn’t clear what exact role the embassy may play, beyond public education on Bitcoin.
El estado de Texas, nuestro nuevo aliado.
En mi encuentro con el Secretario Adjunto del Gobierno de Texas, Joe Esparza @TXsecofstate, abordamos la apertura de la segunda Embajada #Bitcoin y de ampliar los proyectos de intercambios comerciales y económicos. 🇺🇸🤝🇸🇻 pic.twitter.com/NcmOjeadl6
— Milena Mayorga (@MilenaMayorga) February 14, 2023
Switzerland & El Salvador to Work Together
El Salvador has been one of the few countries in the world that has fully embraced crypto in its policy-making, making Bitcoin legal tender – the first one to do so – in the country. Under president Nayib Bukele, Bitcoin was made legal tender along with the US dollar in El Salvador in September 2021.
Last year, El Salvador opened a “Bitcoin office” in Lugano, Switzerland in efforts to help spread adoption of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency in Europe. Additionally, El Salvador signed a Memorandum of Understanding on economic cooperation with the Swiss city.
In entering into an agreement together, Switzerland and El Salvador intend to support “initiatives to drive the adoption of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies across their respective regions” and “fostering the exchange of students and talents between El Salvador and Lugano.”
El Salvador’s laws on welcoming crypto has been criticised by the World Bank and the IMF – but not many Salvadorans are not using Bitcoin for everyday purchases. El Salvador via Bukele’s tweets reveal the country has also been purchasing Bitcoin, but has refused to reveal exact details.
Despite this criticism amongst global financial institutions for its lack of transparency over Bitcoin, and human rights groups over Bukele’s harsh crackdown on street gangs, Bukele is popular amongst Salvadorans.