Commentators have accused the World Bank of hypocrisy and ignorance after it stated that it would not assist El Salvador and its President Nayib Bukele’s plan to create a bitcoin (BTC)-powered economy – claiming that bitcoin has displayed “environmental” and “transparency” “shortcomings.”
Per Reuters, a World Bank spokesperson claimed El Salvador had turned to it for help – but that it had refused the request, explaining:
“We are committed to helping El Salvador in numerous ways including for currency transparency and regulatory processes. While the government did approach us for assistance on bitcoin, this is not something the World Bank can support given the environmental and transparency shortcomings.”
The statement has sparked a furious backlash, as the World Bank itself is investing billions in fossil fuels, despite European officials’ pleas to stop funding projects of this nature.
A Bloomberg article from April 1 contained evidence from the German environmental lobby group Urgewald that the World Bank had spent over USD 2bn on such projects in the past two years alone.
Other prominent crypto posters had their say, with @heavilyarmedc questioning what “transparency concerns” the organization could be referring to, as Bitcoin is “literally a public ledger,” and conceding that they were concerned about whether the news would “impact El Salvador’s steadfastness on the whole ordeal.”
The Messari co-founder Dan McArdle also questioned the “transparency” claims, adding:
“Environmental concerns are vastly overblown, though at least that’s a complex topic. But transparency? The WorldBank [is] revealing a good deal of ignorance here.”
The author and BTC commentator Jeff Booth was resolute, opining:
“Trying to control a narrative through an outright lie and is going to blow up badly as more people find the truth, and as a result create an entirely new funding model and race to the free market over the bitcoin ecosystem.”
@Excellion Any 12 year old on Twitter would be more helpful to El Salvador implementing bitcoin than the World Bank.
— Jason Nelson (@dragonwolftech)
And the crypto investor Anthony Pompliano went a step further, suggesting the reason for the statement was that “the World Bank hasn’t figured out how to make money off bitcoin.”
Regardless, it appears El Salvador will not have to completely do it alone. Speaking to the state media, the Salvadoran Finance Minister and Treasury chief Alejandro Zelaya said that the government has held talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is “not against” BTC adoption per se.
And per La Prensa Gráfica, Zelaya confirmed that the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (the Banco Centroamericano de Integración Económica or BCIE) was onboard with its bitcoin adotion plans.
As reported, the BCIE chief stated that the organization was ready to “provide technical assistance” to El Salvador’s finance chief and its central bank – and establish a “team to work on the implementation.”
And the BCIE appears to have already begun coming good with its claims. Zelaya stated that the organization had “unofficially” sent a profile of one of the advisers who could provide El Salvador with technical assistance in the implementation of bitcoin.
The finance minister stated:
“There will be a multidisciplinary group that will work on the issue.”