El Salvador’s Bitcoin Bet Is Up 40% But President Bukele Says He Isn’t Selling

By Decrypt February 29, 2024 In Bitcoin, El Salvador
El Salvador President Nayib Bukele, with Bitcoin Twitter laser eyes. Image: Nayib Bukele/Twitter
El Salvador President Nayib Bukele, with Bitcoin Twitter laser eyes. Image: Nayib Bukele/Twitter

El Salvador President Nayib Bukele took to Twitter on Wednesday with a rebuke for doubters who had criticized his nation’s embrace of Bitcoin (BTC), claiming his country would have made a 40% profit if the cryptocurrency were sold today.

“We won’t sell, [of] course,” he wrote.

His defiant tweet comes as Bitcoin came within 12 percent of it’s all-time high on Monday, seeing a nearly 10% increase in 24 hours.

Bukele’s Bitcoin profit brag appears to be corroborated by the Nayib Bukele Portfolio Tracker, an online tool tracking El Salvador’s Bitcoin holdings and cost basis based on Bukele’s public announcements of its BTC purchases. El Salvador is believed to be holding 2,848 Bitcoin, worth $173 million at today’s prices.

Though the tracker overstated the nation’s profits in December, it has since been corrected, and Bitcoin’s price has meanwhile shot much higher.

“When Bitcoin’s market price was low, they wrote literally thousands of articles about our supposed losses,” wrote Bukele, referring to negative articles written by mainstream financial outlets during the 2022 Bitcoin bear market.

“It’s very telling that the authors of those hit pieces, the ‘analysts,’ the ‘experts,’ the ‘journalists,’ are totally silent now,” Bukele wrote. “Remember this, next time they spill lies again about El Salvador.”

While largely aiming his ire at the media, Bukele has also faced pushback from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which has warned that adopting Bitcoin as legal tender could destabilize the nation’s economy. Even with Bitcoin’s volatility, the Bukele administration has not repealed the law nor sold its BTC—even committing to buying 1 BTC per day right after FTX collapsed.

Despite the nation’s sizable profits, Bukele said the nation has no intention of selling. “1 BTC = 1 BTC,” he wrote. “This was true when the market price was low and it’s true now.”

Bukele was re-elected as El Salvador’s leader with overwhelming support earlier this month, securing another five-year term with 85% of the vote.

Though the leader’s Bitcoin law was met with confusion and criticism by citizens at the time it took effect, he’s also grown highly popular for cracking down on local gang violence, helping reduce the nation’s murder rate by 90%.

Much like Bukele, MicroStrategy owner Michael Saylor called out critics of his company’s Bitcoin strategy earlier this month. According to Saylor Tracker, the firm has now almost doubled its money.

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