El Salvador President Nayib Bukele has cost the country money by betting on Bitcoin, according to calculations made by Bloomberg.
Relying solely on Bukele’s frequent Twitter announcements that he bought Bitcoin, the Salvadoran president has bought 1,391 Bitcoin.
Those purchases—according to Bloomberg—cost approximately $71 million based on an average price of $51,056 per Bitcoin.
Assuming the government is still holding all of this Bitcoin, the total sum acquired is now worth roughly $59 million by today’s prices. Of course, these losses are merely on paper if Bukele hasn't sold any of the Bitcoin.
This means that Bukele’s Bitcoin purchases have cost El Salvador about $12 million in public funds.
Ricardo Castaneda, an economist at El Salvador’s Central America Fiscal Studies Institute, told Bloomberg, “there’s no official information about the amount of Bitcoin the government has purchased, the price they paid or how much is in reserve.”
This news comes amid an already long line of controversies surrounding the Salvadoran president’s adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender.
El Salvador’s Bitcoin growing pains
Castaneda is not the only one concerned about the lack of transparency involved in El Salvador’s Bitcoin policy.
Last year, BlockBank’s head of operations, Nolvia Serrano, told Decrypt there are “so many things that are not being disclosed” about El Salvador’s approach to purchasing Bitcoin.
“For example, who’s holding the private keys to these Bitcoin? Also, what’s the criteria for saying, ‘Oh, today, we’re going to buy more Bitcoin, or we’re going to wait until next month.’ We don’t know that,” said Serrano.
The only point of transparency offered by Bukele so far is that he purchases El Salvador’s Bitcoin using his phone.
However, that’s not enough for Serrano.
“There’s no space to make wrong calls on this, and we need to be transparent because the cryptocurrency community cares about these principles,” she added. If the government demonstrates “something that is completely separate from the ideas of Bitcoin, then you’re not going to have the Bitcoin community supporting you.”
So far, however, that has not been the case.
Ever since Bukele first announced that El Salvador would adopt Bitcoin as legal tender, he has enjoyed the very public support of some of Bitcoin’s loudest advocates, including Michael Saylor, Jack Mallers, and Peter McCormack.