Bitcoin and cryptocurrency prices have returned to form in recent months following a summer market lull—and despite some serious warnings.
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The bitcoin price hit an all-time high of almost $69,000 per bitcoin in November before falling back. Meanwhile, other major cryptocurrencies have made far greater gains than bitcoin over the last year—including ethereum, Binance’s BNB, solana, cardano, and Ripple’s XRP—pushing the combined crypto market capitalization of highs of $3 trillion.
Now, Samson Mow, chief strategy officer of blockchain technology provider Blockstream, has said he expects El Salvador’s volcano-powered, bitcoin-back bonds to help the bitcoin price climb to $1 million per bitcoin in just five years.
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“If bitcoin at the five-year mark reaches $1 million, which I think it will, [El Salvador] will sell bitcoin in two quarters and recoup that $500 million,” said Mow, speaking alongside El Salvador’s president Nayib Bukele at the weekend and explaining how the country could finance its bitcoin bonds, it was reported by Reuters.
“If you get 100 more countries to do these bonds, that’s half of bitcoin’s market cap right there,” said Mow, adding that “game theory” on the bonds gave first issuer El Salvador an advantage and once 10 such bonds were issued, $5 billion in bitcoin would be taken off the market for several years.
“This is going to make El Salvador the financial center of the world,” Mow added.
El Salvador’s so-called “volcano bonds”—designed to fund the building of a new, low tax “bitcoin city,” powered with geothermal energy from a nearby volcano—will be U.S. dollar-denominated 10-year bonds and carry a coupon of 6.5%.
“Invest here and make all the money you want,” Bukele reportedly told attendees of an event closing a week-long promotion of bitcoin in El Salvador and likening his plan to cities founded by Alexander the Great.
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However, the world of traditional finance appears to have taken a dim view of El Salvador’s volcano-powered bitcoin bonds, with big-name investors telling the Financial Times the scheme could mean the country has less access to traditional debt markets.
“I don’t know who is going to buy these bonds but it sure as heck isn’t going to be us,” Kevin Daly, a fund manager at Aberdeen Standard Investments, told the FT.
Elsewhere, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is reportedly engaged in talks over a $1.3 billion loan agreement with the country, has warned El Salvador its adoption of bitcoin as legal tender will increase financial and consumer risks.
“Given bitcoin’s high price volatility, its use as a legal tender entails significant risks to consumer protection, financial integrity, and financial stability,” IMF staff wrote in a statement related to a mission in the Central American country.