"Nothing positive has happened."
While the value of Bitcoin continues its precipitous fall, El Salvador, the country that adopted Bitcoin as legal tender under its blockchain-loving president last year, is experiencing a surge in gang violence, Politico reports.
Salvadorian President Nayib Bukele was unable to attend a big crypto conference in Miami last month because of gang violence that led to the largest single-day murder spike since 1992, when the country was embroiled in a civil war, according to Politico.
As the chaos ensues, Bukele is resorting to draconian measures to quell the violence, like threatening to jail journalists for publishing statements from gangs.
Even before Bitcoin's tumultuous crash this week, it was clear that there was trouble in crypto paradise as the country's audacious gamble on the cryptocurrency has repeatedly failed to bring about positive change for the El Salvadorian people — despite a surge in foreign investors and streams of tourists.
And while we can't say for sure if Bukele's Bitcoin boosting was the direct cause for the rise in violence in the country, it certainly hasn't helped the region known for its socioeconomic instability.
But now, as the country descends into even more political and social unrest, critics are pointing out just how antithetical Bukele's leadership style is to the flashy Bitcoin dreams he promised last summer, around the time he first announced plans to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender in the country.
"The Bitcoin philosophy is about freedom," Claudia Ortiz, an opposition politician and potential presidential challenger to Bukele, told Politico, "but in El Salvador the Bitcoin experiment is part of an authoritarian project, and that’s incoherent."
Ezequiel Milla, the former mayor La Union, the El Salvadorian city that houses a volcano where Bukele opened a geothermal Bitcoin mining facility, put it even more succinctly.
"Nothing positive has happened," Milla said near the base of the Conchagua volcano.
As of late, it seems like he's right.
READ MORE: ‘Nothing positive’: Salvadorans struggle to adapt to Bitcoin [Politico]
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