SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — Salvadoran bitcoin president asked people to be patient after the price of the cryptocurrency fell below $20,000, less than half the price paid by the government.
According to tracking site nayibtracker.com, El Salvador under the administration of President Nayib Bukele spent around $105 million on Bitcoin, starting last September and paying an average of nearly $46,000 per coin.
The value of this investment in the currency, also known as “BTC”, is now said to have fallen by more than 57%, or approximately $61 million.
“I see some people worrying or worried about #Bitcoin market price,” Bukele wrote on his Twitter account on Saturday night. “My advice: stop staring at the graph and enjoy life. If you have invested in #BTC, your investment is safe and its value will increase tremendously after the bear market.
“Patience is the key,” the president wrote.
On Tuesday, when a Bitcoin publication reported that El Salvador had lost “only” $40 million on its investment, Bukele tweeted in apparent disbelief, “Are you telling me we should buy more #BTC?”
Bukele became the world’s first leader to make the cryptocurrency legal tender last year and was a dedicated booster at least until May, when he bragged about “buying the dip” of the currency price. But the coin has slipped further since then.
Finance Minister Alejandro Zelaya sought to put a good face on the situation on Wednesday in an interview with a local TV station, saying El Salvador hasn’t sold any of its bitcoins so it hasn’t really suffered. of loss.
“When they tell me that El Salvador’s fiscal risk has increased because of the supposed loss, that loss doesn’t exist,” Zelaya said. “That must be clear, because we haven’t sold.”
However, most companies and governments write down the value of what accountants call an “unrealized loss,” even if they don’t sell the distressed asset.
Zelaya also insisted that the Bitcoin slide doesn’t matter much to El Salvador, saying “it’s not even 0.5% of our budget.”
That could prove a tough sell in a country where about a fifth of the population lives on less than $5.50 a day.
In January, El Salvador rejected a recommendation from the International Monetary Fund to drop Bitcoin as legal tender.
Zelaya said at the time that “no international organization will force us to do anything, anything”, calling it “sovereignty”.
The IMF has recommended that El Salvador dissolve the $150 million trust fund it created when it made cryptocurrency legal tender and return any of those unused funds to its treasury.
The IMF has raised concerns about Bitcoin’s price volatility and the possibility of criminals using the cryptocurrency.
Bukele touted Bitcoin as a way to dramatically increase financial inclusion, attracting millions of people who previously didn’t have bank accounts in the financial system. He also talked about parallel tourism promotion targeting bitcoin enthusiasts.
Bukele led the push to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender alongside the US dollar. El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly made the country the first to do so in June 2021.