El Salvador Invests $4 Million Worth Of Its Bitcoin To Build A Pet Hospital


Nayib Armando Bukele Ortez is a Salvadoran politician, and the 43rd President of El Salvador.

Serving since June 2019 after winning the 2019 election, Nayib Bukele who is also a businessman, is also a cryptocurrency fan. Born in 1981, the President was the one behind the country's 700 Bitcoin purchase back in September.

At that time, El Salvador spent $31 million for the Bitcoins.

This time, the investment has brought the government $4 million in profit.

With the money, the President has a grand plan to build a pet hospital.

No Bitcoin should be sold to fund the investment. Instead, the state is drawing U.S. dollars from its Bitcoin trust.

Nayib Armando Bukele Ortez
El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele in a meeting at the Presidential House in San Salvador May 3, 2021. (Credit: Secretaria de Prensa de La Presidencia)

In other words, Nayib Bukele plans to invest part of the $4 million worth of profits the country has amassed from its Bitcoin holdings to invest into constructing a new veterinary hospital.

The hospital in question, is to be located at the local capital of San Salvador.

The plan for the hospital include 12 basic offices, 4 emergency clinics and 4 rehabilitation area. It should also have places for isolations, hospitalizations and recovery

“We decided to invest a part of that money in this: a veterinary hospital for our furry friends,” he said.

Bukele added that the gleaming white, airy facility for pets with grass lining as its roof should be able to perform 64 surgeries, respond to 128 emergencies, and tend to nearly 400 general appointments daily. The President shared a computer-generated mock-up of the hospital to social media.

"Bitcoin is good for pets," Bukele said in a tweet that followed the thread about the lavish building.

The news was met with mixed reactions on Twitter, with many Salvadorans suggesting alternative uses for the country’s cryptocurrency profits.

For example, some suggested that it would be better for the money to be invested in improving existing medical facilities across the country, emphasizing that many hospitals and health units need to be improved. Others criticized the government for failing to invest in infrastructure outside of the country’s capital.

It's worth noting that the announcement was made a month after the Central American country adopted Bitcoin as legal tender.

Bukele pushed to get Bitcoin accepted as legal tender to help bolster the country's financial and economic systems, given that most of its citizens were unbanked.

In El Salvador in 2017, only 30% of its citizens had banks.

While at this time, it’s optional for the country's citizens to use the cryptocurrency, all companies must accept Bitcoin as long as they have the technology to do so.

This move by the President gained criticism from the co-founder of Ethereum Vitalik Buterin.

He said that he is against the policy of El Salvador President Nayib Bukele to make Bitcoin usage a mandatory for merchants and businesses, because it is against cryptocurrency’s "ideals of freedom."

Buterin said that the President's move, which pushes the policy to people to use cryptocurrency without prior education is "reckless," and "risks a large number of innocent people getting hacked or scammed."

"Shame on everyone (ok, fine, I'll call out the main people responsible: shame on Bitcoin maximalists) who are uncritically praising him," Buterin added in a Reddit post.

Buterin, who is known as the youngest cryptocurrency billionaire, said that he believes Bukele’s policy is partly motivated by politics, as well as some personal factors.

“He’s a human being like the rest of us, he just loves being praised by people he considers powerful (ie. Americans),” he said. “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."

Investing in cryptocurrency and urging its usage is not the only part of El Salvador's project, as the country also started mining digital coins using clean volcano-powered energy, as well as having its own official "Chivo" digital wallet.