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Billionaire investor and Bloomberg report.fan Tim Draper made a surprise visit to the headquarters of Sri Lanka’s central bank trying to promote the cryptocurrency as a tool to fight corruption, but faced a frosty reception from the bank's Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe, per a
“I come to the Central Bank with decentralized currency,” Draper said, only for Weerasinghe to bluntly respond, “We don’t accept.”
“Adoption of 100% Bitcoin won’t be a Sri Lanka reality ever,” Weerasinghe said, adding that, "we don’t want to make the crisis worse by introducing Bitcoin."
During his meeting with Weerasinghe, Draper, dressed in a Bitcoin tie, said that should Sri Lanka follow El Salvador's lead in making use of Bitcoin, "A country known for corruption will be able to keep perfect records with the adoption of Bitcoin.”
According to the Governor, however, having its own currency is necessary for Sri Lanka's monetary policy independence, and other technologies are capable of distributing financial services.
Sri Lanka’s economic crisis
The meeting came during Draper’s visit to the island nation this week to shoot an episode of his "Meet the Drapers" TV show with local entrepreneurs. During his stay, Draper also met the country’s president Ranil Wickremesinghe, where he again made the case for Bitcoin adoption in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka, which marks the 75th anniversary of its independence from Great Britain this year, is engulfed in a major economic and political crisis that saw it default on more than $56 billion of foreign loans in 2022. The country is facing fuel and food shortages that lead to mass protests and forced former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa to flee the country and resign,
Systemic corruption is believed to be one of the reasons for Sri Lanka’s descent into chaos; however, those ruling the country today appear to be opposed to introducing Bitcoin as a possible solution.
In 2014, Draper bought 30,000 BTC—then worth $19 million—seized from the dark web drug marketplace Silk Road in an auction held by the U.S. Marshals Service.
That same year, he predicted the would go to $10,000 in three years. Bitcoin went on to surpass $20,000 in 2017.
However, not all of Draper's predictions have come to pass. In 2018, he argued that Bitcoin would reach $250,000 by 2022; by November 2022, as the crypto space entered into a prolonged bear market, he "extended" his prediction by six months, claiming that "by mid-2023, I'm expecting to see Bitcoin hit $250,000."