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El Salvador Has Far More Bitcoin Holdings Than Estimated

Julia Smith
Last updated: | 2 min read
El Salvador, Bukele, Bitcoin

It was revealed on Thursday that El Salvador has much more Bitcoin than previous estimates when President Nayib Bukele posted on X that the country has moved over 5,000 bitcoins worth over $400 million into a cold wallet.

El Salvador’s Secret Bitcoin Stash: Over $400M


Bukele’s latest move surprised many in the crypto community, as prior estimates placed El Salvador’s Bitcoin stockpile at around 3,000 BTC.

Cold wallets, also known as hardware wallets, allow users to store their private keys offline to ensure their protection from malware or hacking attempts.

“You can call it our first Bitcoin piggy bank,” Bukele wrote. “It’s not much, but it’s honest work.”

El Salvador’s Historic Bitcoin Adoption


El Salvador became the first nation to use bitcoin as legal tender in September 2021 when bitcoin was trading around $51,000.

News of the country’s latest Bitcoin strategy comes as the token reached an all-time high of over $73,000 earlier this week.

Its price has been rallying in recent months following the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) approval of several spot bitcoin ETFs in January 2024.

The rally is expected to intensify as anticipation builds for the token’s quadrennial halving event, scheduled to occur next month.

As of March 15, Bukele’s announcement received over 2,000 replies on X, most of which are seemingly positive.

“El Salvador is a case study on how to positively transform a country,” one X user wrote.

“This type of move makes other countries look incompetent and behind,” another said. “You are leading the way!”

El Salvador On Track To Become One Of The Richest Countries In The World?


Meanwhile, a number of U.S. officials have lambasted the country’s crypto-forward policy, with U.S. senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jim Risch (R-ID), and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) originally introducing “Accountability for Cryptocurrency in El Salvador Act” in 2022, citing U.S. security and trade concerns.

“Using cryptocurrency as legal tender could weaken economic and financial stability and empower malign actors,” said Risch. “Given U.S. interest on prosperity and transparency in Central America, we must seek greater clarity on how the adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender may impact El Salvador’s financial and economic stability, as well as El Salvador’s capacity to effectively combat money laundering and illicit finances.”

However, based on the country’s current bitcoin holdings, U.S. lawmakers may have nothing to worry about.

“Within maybe 30 or 40 years, El Salvador will have gone from the poorest, most crime ridden country, to maybe one of the richest, most innovative countries in the world, just in that period of time,” venture capitalist Tim Draper said on Rachel Wolfson’s Web3 Deep Dive podcast. “And this is just because they embraced Bitcoin.”