A constitutional lawyer has questioned the legality of El Salvador President Nayib Bukele’s bid to make bitcoin (BTC) legal tender alongside the United States dollar.
Per ElSalavador.com, the website of the El Diario de Hoy newspaper, the constitutional lawyer Enrique Anaya has claimed that the Bukele law is unconstitutional in its nature – and that the government is hiding behind coronavirus pandemic-mitigating measures in a bid to avoid controversy over the act. The act is set to promulgate in September.
Anaya claimed that the terms of the law had been drafted “in ambiguous language,” and contained “prohibitions about the exercise of a right” (the right to refuse a BTC payment if offered and the recipient has access to a smartphone or PC). This, he claimed was by nature a “limitation of constitutional rights.”
He added that potential protests about the BTC law were being avoided by the imposition of social distancing measures aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19.
The lawyer said:
“Deep down, the government wants to avoid demonstrations against bitcoin […] and no one is going to be able to come out to protest.”
More than three-quarters of surveyed Salvadorans are skeptical of BTC being recognized as legal tender in the country, Reuters reported last week, citing a country-wide survey of 1,233 people. It showed that about 54% of those surveyed viewed the bitcoin adoption as "not at all correct" while another 24% described it as "only a little correct."
Meanwhile, an engineer has hit out at Bukele and his plans to harness the power of geothermal energy from the nation’s volcanos to power a Bitcoin mining effort.
Per a separate report in ElSalavador.com, the Salvadorian engineer Carlos Martínez stated that Salvadorian power capacity “does not even begin to address the needs of the BTC industry,” and that BTC mining power demands have caused blackouts because “demand is high and the electrical infrastructure is not capable of supporting this sort of demand.”
The media outlet claimed that it had attempted to contact LaGeo, the government-run geothermal energy operator, on three occasions and had been told that the person in charge was unavailable on each instance. An executive with the firm was quoted as stating that the President himself was taking charge of the project.