El Salvador’s “Bitcoin Davos” wasn’t really about cryptocurrencies

Representatives of 44 banking institutions gathered in El Salvador for a summit on financial inclusion. The president, Nayib Bukele, has focused on bitcoin, but central banks have not only talked about this.

Some even went so far as to talk about “Bitcoin Davos”, referring to the famous world economic forum. Representatives of 44 central banks and financial institutions were invited to El Salvador and President Nayib Bukele featured on Twitter their coming as a strong signal for bitcoin adoption around the world. In the absence of a clear announcement, many had interpreted the conference as specifically about cryptocurrency.

But that was not the case: it was mainly a summit organized by AFI, the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (Alliance for Financial Inclusion), a Malaysian organization. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the best ways to ensure greater banking inclusion, and while part of the discussion focused on bitcoin, it was not a meeting entirely devoted to the adoption of cryptocurrencies.

Nayib Bukele, President of El Salvador // Source: Wikimedia Commons

What were the bankers talking about?

It was the central bank of Paraguay, whose representative took part in the trip, that was the first to release a press release to correct the situation. In its message, the institution explains that ” the meeting does not focus on cryptocurrencies », And recalled that cryptocurrencies were not considered legal currencies in the country. ” Paraguay’s central bank does not intend to discuss cryptocurrency adoption under AFI “.

So what were the bankers talking about? According to the AFI program, during this ” week of events “, The participants have” held discussions on promoting digital ecosystems and financial innovations “, in order to ” provide more help to small businesses, women and low-wage people “.

The band members also talked about “ the emergence and regulation of digital private currencies in developing countries that is cryptocurrencies, but also digital assets and stableboins. Not much discussion of the central bank’s plans to accept bitcoin as legal tender, then.

Central bank representatives have tried Bitcoin

Claims that the meeting was dedicated to cryptocurrencies should therefore be taken with a grain of salt. It is true, however, that a panel has been organized to talk about bitcoin profits, presented by Roman Martinez and Nicolas Burtey, the two entrepreneurs behind Bitcoin Beach (the Salvadoran resort where bitcoin was first used). They talked at length about the history of the place and the payment systems developed.

Central bank representatives at Bitcoin Beach // Source: Galoy

Representatives from financial institutions even visited Bitcoin Beach at the end of their stay to personally test cryptocurrency payments. Galoy, the company that developed the crypto wallets for Bitcoin Beach, says the group members were able to ” see what bitcoin does for communities excluded from the banking system current “. And Nayib Bukele also took advantage of the visit to give them a break, and make them scream” bitcoin “.

While AFI members do not currently intend to recognize all bitcoin as legal tender, the symbol is strong. Global financial institutions have historically opposed cryptocurrencies. The IMF criticized Salvador’s plan to adopt bitcoin, saying the country was “ gone too far “, and Christine Largarde, president of the European Central Bank, recently said that crypto-assets don’t.” they were worth nothing “.

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