Bitcoin conference in El Salvador attracts developing countries

President Nayib Bukele of El Salvador tweeted that his country will host a conference for 32 central banks and 12 financial authorities.

El Salvador flag with Bitcoin symbols

Nayib Bukele, president of the first country to make Bitcoin legal tender, tweeted on Monday that his country would host representatives of 32 central banks and 12 financial institutions from developing countries. President Bukele announced that the meeting would take place on Tuesday.

Who's invited?

The event will host a number of African officials from Ghana, Namibia, Uganda, Rwanda, and Egypt, among other countries. Multiple South American and Central American states, including Honduras, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti, will also send their delegations.

The Central African Republic, which recently made headlines when it became the second country to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender, is conspicuously absent from the conference.

Neither the United States nor any member of the European Union will attend the El Salvador event. The only European country on the guest list, Armenia, ranks among the poorest on the continent.

Read also: US senators concerned with El Salvador's Bitcoin adoption

Attendees will discuss financial inclusion, the digital economy and “banking the unbanked,” which many underdeveloped countries recognize as one of their top economic challenges. Last but not least, the conference will cover the rollout of Bitcoin and the benefits crypto could bring to the Global South.

Toward financial stability or default?

Earlier this year, President Bukele was set to speak at Bitcoin 2022 conference, but had to cancel his plans at the last minute. Now that the crypto market remains in full crisis mode following Terra’s collapse and the falling price of Bitcoin, El Salvador Bitcoin stance hasn't changed. Last week, Bukele tweeted that his country has purchased 500 BTC at an average price of $30,744.

To date, El Salvador has acquired about $100 million worth of Bitcoin, but as the price of the world’s largest cryptocurrency plunged to pre-2021 levels, El Salvador's Bitcoin coffers waned to about $38 million.

The crypto crisis prompted some economists to raise alarm that El Salvador could soon default on its debt, which now totals approximately $24 million. Earlier this month, Moody’s downgraded El Salvador’s foreign currency debt ratings from Caa1 to Caa3, suggesting a heightened risk of a default, restructuring, or debt swap.