El Salvador approves $150 million fund to convert bitcoin to U.S. dollars

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El Salvador approves $150 million fund to convert bitcoin to U.S. dollars

SAN SALVADOR Reuters - El Salvador's Congress on Tuesday approved a law to create a $150 million fund to facilitate conversions from bitcoin to U.S. dollars ahead of the planned adoption of the cryptocurrency as legal tender next week.

With 64 votes in favor and 14 votes against, Congress approved the fund as El Salvador, which already uses U.S. dollars, prepares to officially adopt Bitcoin on Sept. 7.

The Central American state will be the first in the world to use cryptocurrency as legal tender.

The money for the new fund will be administered by the Finance Ministry of El Salvador in the current budget and directed by the state development bank of El Salvador legislators said.

The purpose of this law is to financially support the alternatives that the state provides, without prejudice to congressional initiatives, that allow the user to carry out the automatic and instantaneous convertibility of bitcoin to the US dollar, a private document said.

At least 200 ATMs and 50 consulting centers for the government mobile app Chivo are being installed in different parts of the country where users can deposit and withdraw money without paying commissions, according to President Nayib Bukele, who announced the initiative in June.