Bitcoin rises as El Salvador prepares to make it legal tender by September 7

The price of Bitcoin (BTC-USD) rose for a third consecutive day on Friday after El Salvador revealed that it would officiate the cryptocurrency as legal tender on 7 September.

The Central American country plans to use bitcoin as a parallel legal tender alongside the US dollar, which has also been touted as a remittance currency for Salvadorans overseas.

It announced that it would give every citizen $30 (£21.60) in bitcoin via a Chivo e-wallet, using facial recognition.

Bitcoin, the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency, was up 3.8% on Friday at $34,157 on the back of the news, helping to boost the wider market.

Most other coins in the top 20 by market value were up between 2% and 17% over the same 24-hour period, according to CoinDesk data, with Elon Musk’s favourite dogecoin (DOGE-USD) posting the strongest gains, trading 13% higher.

It came as Athena Bitcoin, an operator of bitcoin ATMs throughout the Americas, is also poised to set up 1,500 new cash-to-crypto machines in El Salvador.

The move has been backed by a $1m funding to help get operations underway, including the hiring of new staff and opening an office ahead of the country’s proposed bitcoin law. The crypto ATMs are seen as a way for people to interact with the physical world, particularly for those who are not well-versed in cryptocurrencies.

El Salvador has still pushed ahead with its plan despite the World Bank rejecting its request for help with the implementation of the cryptocurrency as legal tender. The World Bank earlier this month said it could not assist El Salvador due to the environmental impact of bitcoin mining, and transparency drawbacks.

Bitcoin mining has previously been shown to use more energy than that of small nations due to the high levels of computer processing power needed.

This same reason was behind Musk’s U-turn on the coin. He tweeted weeks ago that his electric car company would resume accepting bitcoin once it becomes more environmentally friendly.

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