The president regularly buys the dip, has promised a low-tax Bitcoin “Citadel” in the form of Bitcoin City, and is exploring renewable energy BTC mining using volcanoes.

The International Monetary Fund Pushes Back

The International Monetary Fund’s board urged El Salvador to strip Bitcoin of its status as legal currency due to its large risks, highlighting a major obstacle for the nation’s efforts to get a loan from the institution.

El Salvador last year sought a $1.3 billion IMF loan, but talks have been stymied by the lender’s Bitcoin concerns, and any program would need to be approved by the board.

IMF executive directors, who represent the fund’s 190 member nations, highlighted Bitcoin’s risks to “financial stability, financial integrity, and consumer protection” and fiscal contingent liabilities, the fund said in a statement Tuesday. They urged the authorities “to narrow the scope of the Bitcoin law by removing Bitcoin’s legal tender status.”

What Is it Like For Those Living There?

But what is it like for those living day to day in the smallest Central American country, known as “the land of volcanoes”? Moreover, what’s it like trying to live off only Bitcoin?

An Italian couple, Rikki and Laura, have done just that. Rikki is a Bitcoin podcaster and human rights activist, active in the space since 2016. Laura works as a community manager in the blockchain space and has been laser-focused on crypto since 2019.

After the Bitcoin Law was passed, Laura came up with the idea of traveling all around El Salvador for 45 days. The challenge? Living off only Bitcoin. No bartering, no euros and certainly no U.S. dollars.

Their experiences offer fascinating insights into the country’s history, its charming landscapes and, of course, its laser-eyed Bitcoin future. The stories of their travels can be read in English and Italian, and their podcast is called Bitcoin Italia Podcast.

On the flip side, Rikki and Laura also stumbled across weighty challenges arising from being orange-coin-only, including gaps in education and difficulties transacting with Bitcoin. They chatted with Cointelegraph via video call from Santa Ana, a coffee-rich region of El Salvador, on Jan. 24.

Do you accept Bitcoin? Oh, you don’t? Ciao!

In San Salvador, lots of places accept Bitcoin — from McDonald’s to Starbucks to mom-and-pop stores. In El Zonte, known as “Bitcoin Beach” — the birthplace of the Bitcoin Law — most vendors advertise that they accept BTC. However, off the beaten track, Bitcoin is poorly understood and sometimes misconstrued as the state-sponsored wallet, Chivo Wallet.