New bill aims to ‘mitigate risks’ to US from El Salvador’s Bitcoin Law

A bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation in the United States Senate that seeks to mitigate the perceived risks posed by El Salvador’s adoption of Bitcoin (BTC) as a legal currency.

The proposed Accountability for Cryptocurrency in El Salvador Act (ACES) aims to “mitigate potential risks to the US financial system” such as money laundering and terrorism funding.

The bill was introduced by senators James Risch and Bill Cassidy, with Bob Menendez signing on. Senator Risch wrote in the Wednesday announcement:

“El Salvador’s adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender raises significant concerns about the economic stability and financial integrity of a vulnerable US trading partner in Central America.”

Senator Cassidy wrote that “recognizing Bitcoin as official currency opens the door for money laundering cartels and generals US interests.”

If the bill passes, it would give federal agencies 60 days to submit a report that assesses several aspects of the Central American nation’s abilities regarding cybersecurity and financial stability.

The first part of the report would assess how El Salvador developed and enacted the Bitcoin Law, how El Salvador will “mitigate the financial integrity and cyber security risks” from digital assets, whether it meets Financial Action Task Force requirements, the impact on individuals and , and the effect crypto businesses will have on its economy.

The next part of the report would describe El Salvador’s internet infrastructure and assess “the degree to which cryptocurrency is used” there, custody of funds, the potential for hacks, and the rate of financial access underprivileged or unbanked Salvadorans enjoy.

Following the issuance of these reports, the bill would stipulate action plans from various agencies based on the findings.

Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele reacted against the perceived interference in his country, tweeting, “You have 0 jurisdiction over a sovereign and independent nation. We are not your colony, your back yard, or your front yard.”

El Salvador’s government passed the Bitcoin Law in June 2021, making Bitcoin a legal currency in the country and, later, forcing businesses to accept it as a means of payment.

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The law has seen some opposition from domestic lawmakers and the International Monetary Fund, which has urged President Bukele to repeal the Bitcoin Law numerous times, most recently on Jan. 25. It has, of course, been praised by proponents of the world’s largest crypto by market capitalization.