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Bitcoin retreats from the highest level since May as El Salvador adopts it as legal tender


A woman uses a Bitcoin ATM machine placed within a safety cage on January 29, 2021 in Barcelona, Spain.

Cesc Maymo | Getty Images

The price of bitcoin fell Tuesday after breaking through $52,000 late Monday, reaching its highest level since May.

The price action comes on the day El Salvador is set to adopt the largest cryptocurrency by market cap as legal tender, becoming the first country to do so. Bitcoin is now down about 2.5% and last traded at $50,531.19.

El Salvador bought 400 bitcoins worth about $20 million and is preloading government-run bitcoin wallets with $30 worth of bitcoin for Salvadorans who register.

As part of the new law, businesses will be required to accept bitcoin for goods and services, though merchants who aren’t technologically able to accept bitcoin will be exempt. The government has installed 200 bitcoin ATMs around El Salvador.

Many bitcoin advocates have long held there’s a strong case for Latin American markets using the cryptocurrency as a medium of exchange, for remittances and even for central banks that experience high currency depreciation.

On Monday Panamanian politician Gabriel Silva introduced the “Crypto Law,” which “seeks to make Panama a country compatible with the blockchain, crypto assets and the internet,” he said on Twitter. “This has the potential to create thousands of jobs, attract investment and make the government transparent,” he added.

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