Gained experience with Bitcoin (BTC).

Gained experience with Bitcoin (BTC).

Curtis Loftis, Secretary of the Treasury for the US state of South Carolina, was in El Salvador for five days as part of a cryptocurrency “reconnaissance trip”.

According to an Oct. 5 announcement, Loftis was part of a delegation that included South Carolina business leaders, rural health officials, and others “interested in the proliferation of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies.” They met with El Salvador government officials to learn more about Bitcoin (BTC) adoption in the country. Since the Bitcoin law came into force in El Salvador in September 2021, the cryptocurrency has been legal tender alongside the US dollar.

Loftis is said to have privately funded the trip, during which he spoke to government officials about Bitcoin and looked at the country’s financial education programs, among other things. According to the Secretary of the Treasury, the background to the visit to El Salvador was that the South Carolina legislature is exploring ways to encourage crypto and blockchain adoption in the US state.

Speaking to Cointelegraph, Loftis said he is neither a “proponent nor an opponent” of cryptocurrencies and simply wants to learn how the South Carolina government can effectively use the technology to advance financial education. The finance minister said the group had used bitcoin to make payments at street vendors and local businesses “maybe four times.”

“We went to a nicer restaurant and the bill was between $304-100. And they paid with bitcoin,” Loftis said. “I registered with Lightning in advance. […] It was interesting. People who really have little use bitcoin and some of them really enjoy it. They were really glad they did.”

The finance minister added:

“That’s our job: It’s not about creating a world with Bitcoin or Ethereum or not creating such a world. It’s just about understanding what’s going on and creating a system in which we ensure can that people have good resources to understand what is happening.”

About 20 percent of El Salvador citizens use BTC through Chivo wallets. El Salvador President Nayib Bukele announced that the governments own 2,381 BTC (as of July). Due to the decline in the crypto market, the value of the country’s Bitcoin supply has fallen by over 55 percent since September 2021. At press time, the BTC was worth approximately $48 million.

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