Friday 17 September 2021 10:12 am

El Salvador Court to investigate Bitcoin roll out

El Salvador’s Court of Accounts will investigate government Bitcoin purchases and crypto ATMs after receiving a complaint from a human rights watchdog.

Earlier this month El Salvador became the first country in the world to make Bitcoin legal tender, requiring businesses to accept crypto payments alongside the dollar. The policy, spearheaded by El Salvador’s popular, young President Nayib Bukele, has gotten off to a shaky start with protests, technical glitches and a slump in the price of Bitcoin marring the experiment.

Human rights watchdog, Cristosal, lodged a complaint about bitcoin implementation on September 10 calling for an investigation into the authorisation processes for the purchase of Bitcoin by the government and the construction of the booths used for crypto ATMs which were organised by a taxpayer funded company.

The group has today confirmed that a Salvadoran court will carry out an audit examination of decisions taken by the Bitcoin trust, the government body which oversaw the policy and includes members of the Finance and Economy ministries, as well as the secretariat of Commerce and Investments.

The watchdog has the power to impose administrative and asset sanctions and to present notices to the Attorney General’s Office asking for criminal proceedings to be brought forward.

The news comes a day after El Salvador’s capital was rocked by anti-government protests which turned violent when Bitcoin ATMs, unveiled to mark the crypto currency becoming legal tender, were set on fire.

Despite the backlash Mr Bukele still reportedly enjoys strong support in El Salvador with a recent newspaper poll showing 85.7% of people approved of the president.

Read more: Bitcoin protests break out in El Salvador