Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin has criticised El Salvador's methods for adopting Bitcoin as a legal tender, pushing back against one of the largest crypto adoption milestones to date.
Buterin posted his criticisms in a Reddit thread that hit out at crypto advocates who praise Nayib Bukele. Bukele is the authoritarian president of El Salvador, denounced for his moves to undermine the nation's democratic institutes.
El Salvador first made Bitcoin a legal tender on September 7 - the same day that the cryptocurrency market crashed.
Bitcoin Adoption Problems
The Ethereum founder's first problem with El Salvador's adoption concerned its undermining of freedom by forcing businesses to accept Bitcoin.
"Making it mandatory for businesses to accept a specific cryptocurrency is contrary to the ideals of freedom that are supposed to be so important to the crypto space," he said.
Freedom and decentralisation are at the core of cryptocurrency's origins. Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin, envisioned cryptocurrency to be peer-to-peer cash that did not require any government control. Much like the centralisation of mining nodes to large pools, Buterin and other crypto enthusiasts could question how much El Salvador's technique is in line with Nakamoto's vision.
However, users pointed out in response to Buterin that El Salvador businesses also accept other currencies, and this does n from being required to accept the USD, for example. Other Redditors refuted this, maintaining Bitcoin is different from a regulated, government-controlled currency.
Buterin also warned the lack of cryptocurrency education could harm El Salvador citizens.
"This tactic of pushing BTC to millions of people in El Salvador at the same time with almost no attempt at prior education is reckless," he said. "[It] risks a large number of innocent people getting hacked or scammed."
Buterin then called out Bitcoin Maximalists - a phrase coined by Buterin in 2014. It references a subsection of the cryptocurrency community that sees Bitcoin as the only viable digital asset, with all altcoins doomed to fail.
"Shame on everyone (OK, I'll call out the main people responsible: Shame on Bitcoin Maximalists) who are uncritically praising him."
"Bitcoin Maximalists are a very easy community to get to praise you: you just have to be in a position of power and do or say nice things about them and their coin," he said in another comment.