In an interview with local media, Javier Argueta, the legal counsel to the Presidential House of El Salvador, clarified the obligations of businesses the day before the country’s controversial Bitcoin Law recognizing BTC as legal tender took effect.
The legal counsel to the President of El Salvador has stated that businesses are mandated to accept Bitcoin from customers — but they are able to choose whether or not they will receive BTC or U.S. dollars once the transaction is settled.
According to a rough translation, Agueta emphasized that it is mandatory for businesses “to have the electronic wallet” to receive Bitcoin, however “In the transaction […] you have the will to receive Bitcoin or dollars, that is why it is voluntary.”
“If I buy you 1,000 shirts that cost $200 and I’m going to pay you in Bitcoin, you have the wallet, but in the transaction, when you do it, you have the will to receive Bitcoin or dollars, that is why it is voluntary.”
The official added that businesses which refuse to accept BTC will be operating in violation of local regulations. He said it would be an infraction of consumer protection law and action could be taken against businesses.
#ElSalvador | Según Javier Argueta, asesor jurídico de Capres, todos los empresarios que no hagan uso de la billetera Chivo y se nieguen a hacer la transacción con #Bitcoin se enfrentan a legislaciones como Ley de protección de consumidor; se harán remisiones.
— elsalvador.com (@elsalvadorcom) September 6, 2021
The government’s Chivo wallet allows users to process transfers in both BTC and U.S. dollars. The wallet is maintained in partnership with Mexican crypto exchange Bitso — which says it is working with California-based crypto-friendly bank Silvergate facilitate transactions denominated in USD.
The app also allows merchants to automatically convert the Bitcoin they receive into dollars.
Related: McDonald’s now accepts Bitcoin, but only in El Salvador
The clarification comes as local businesses are pushing back against language contained in the Bitcoin Law that states merchants “must” accept Bitcoin as a means of payment, with representatives of the private sector pushing for the legislation to be reworded.