Nayib Bukele, president of El Salvador, tweeted Sunday that El Salvador would host more than 40 countries to discuss topics such as bitcoin in Central America.Despite headlines focusing on bitcoin, the event isn’t primarily about cryptocurrency.
Nayib Bukele, President of El Salvador, tweeted Sunday night that the country will host more than 40 countries to discuss topics such as the Central American country’s Bitcoin rollout.
The tweet stated that “Tomorrow, 32 central bankers and 12 financial authorities (44 nations) will meet in El Salvador in order to discuss financial inclusion and digital economy, banking for the unbanked and the Bitcoin rollout’ and its benefits in our nation.”
Many believed this meant that El Salvador, the country that made bitcoin legal last year and passed a law requiring most merchants to accept it, was holding a Bitcoin-focused conference for central banksters. However, this is not the truth.
Although Bukele provided a list of all central banks who would be attending the talks, he didn’t tweet the name. It turns out that two financial meetings will be held in San Salvador between May 16th and May 19th: The 25th Digital Financial Services Working Group, (DFSWG), and the 18th SME Finance Working Group, (SMEFWG).
These two working groups are part of the Alliance For Financial Inclusion, a Malaysian organization that is “a policy leadership alliance owned by member central banks of financial regulatory institutions with a common objective to advance financial inclusion at all levels of the country, regional, and international.” El Salvador’s Central Reserve Bank hosts these meetings along with AFI.
The idea that these meetings will be primarily focused on bitcoin seems overplayed. This is especially true considering that the AFI event page doesn’t even mention bitcoin or crypto when it describes the content that the working groups will cover.
At least one country has decided to clarify the situation. Paraguay’s central banking (BCP released a May 16 statement stating that, while it participates in the SME Finance Working Group Meeting, that event isn’t primarily focused upon crypto. Translation of the Spanish-language BCP statement says, “The meeting’s focus is not on cryptocurrencies or similar.” Following publications that stated it would be participating in an “international conference about cryptocurrency”, the bank clarified that it was publishing this clarification.
By linking back its 2019 comments on the subject, the BCP reiterated that cryptocurrency was not legal tender in Paraguay. It stated that the BCP did not intend to discuss cryptocurrency in this environment or meeting. However, an institution position was established at the time.
AFI was asked by the Block for an agenda, but it did not arrive in time for press.
During the meeting of the working group, central bank heads discussed financial inclusion and cryptocurrency was brought up. Financial leaders in El Salvador may be curious about how bitcoin implementation is going. It’s not a stretch to call this “the Davos for Bitcoin”, as one media outlet stated. It is one of many meetings AFI holds every year that focuses on financial inclusion.