President Nayib Bukele announced that El Salvador had bought another 80 Bitcoin at an average price of $19,000 early Friday.
Voorhees Criticizes El Salvador Government
El Salvador keeps buying the Bitcoin dip, but one of the cryptocurrency’s earliest pioneers has made it clear that he opposes the government’s moves.
It’s still gross when Bitcoiners celebrate a national government buying #bitcoin with stolen tax money.
Y’all know who you are.
— Erik Voorhees (@ErikVoorhees) July 1, 2022
Erik Voorhees, the founder of ShapeShift and a known “OG” in the crypto space, took to Twitter early Friday to take shots at El Salvador and those who celebrate its Bitcoin adoption. “It’s still gross when Bitcoiners celebrate a national government buying #bitcoin with stolen tax money. Y’all know who you are,” he wrote, before clarifying that he was “talking about El Salvador.”
The post came hours after President Nayib Bukele confirmed that El Salvador had purchased an additional 80 Bitcoin at a “cheap” average price of $19,000, bringing its total haul to roughly 2,301 coins. El Salvador started accumulating Bitcoin after its historic move to adopt the asset as legal tender in September 2021. To date, Bukele has led the country in spending over $100 million on Bitcoin. At current prices, its reserves are worth less than half that figure.
As El Salvador has increasingly taken an interest in Bitcoin, several prominent members of the Bitcoin community have formed close ties with Bukele to help the country’s adoption. The likes of Max Keiser, Stacy Herbert, and Samson Mow have met with the President and worked on initiatives such as the country’s planned Bitcoin City and volcano mining, while Mow has also helped other regions like Próspera follow in the Central American country’s footsteps.
Bukele’s Bitcoin Play Proves Divisive
While Voorhees is arguably best known for evangelizing Bitcoin early in its lifetime, he’s also famous in crypto circles for his Libertarian-leaning views. Voorhees has spoken out against governments as a concept on multiple occasions in the past, likening taxes to theft.
Bukele has won other critics both within and outside the crypto community since he pushed El Salvador toward Bitcoin adoption. Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin memorably slammed Bukele’s government over its Bitcoin policy in October, criticizing the way it forced businesses to accept the asset as a currency. “Making it mandatory for businesses to accept a specific cryptocurrency is contrary to the ideals of freedom that are supposed to be so important to the crypto space,” he wrote in a Reddit post. Buterin also described the move as “reckless,” arguing that it could expose citizens to hacks and scams.
Besides Voorhees and Buterin, global agencies and local residents have also spoken out against El Salvador’s Bitcoin strategy. The IMF has repeatedly urged the government to stop using Bitcoin as a currency owing to its risks, while the announcement of its adoption was followed by protests across the country.
Bitcoin is currently trading at around $19,300, 71.9% down from its peak. That puts El Salvador’s paper losses on its investment at about $59.5 million.
Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this piece owned ETH and several other cryptocurrencies.