El Salvador aims to establish the world’s first “Bitcoin City,” first funded by Bitcoin-backed bonds, according to President Nayib Bukele, doubling down on his bet that the cryptocurrency will spur investment in the Central American country.
Speaking at the end of a week-long Bitcoin campaign in El Salvador, Bukele stated that the city planned in the eastern province of La Union would use geothermal energy from a volcano and would not impose any taxes other than the value-added tax (VAT).
“Invest here and make all the money you want,” Bukele remarked on Saturday at the beach town of Mizata, clad completely in white and sporting a baseball cap backwards. “This is a completely ecological metropolis that operates and is powered by a volcano.”
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Bukele estimated that the public infrastructure would cost around 300,000 Bitcoins ($17.7 billion) and that half of the VAT levied would be utilized to support the bonds issued to develop the city.
El Salvador became the world’s first country to accept Bitcoin as legal tender in September.
Although Bukele is a popular president, opinion polls reveal that Salvadorans are skeptical of his love of Bitcoin, and its rocky rollout has fueled anti-government protests.
Bukele compared his concept to Alexander the Great’s cities, saying Bitcoin City would be circular, have an airport, residential and commercial sections, and a central plaza meant to look like a Bitcoin symbol from the air.
“If you want Bitcoin to expand over the world, we need create some Alexandrias,” said Bukele, a 40-year-old software whiz who declared himself “dictator” of El Salvador on Twitter in September in an apparent joke.
El Salvador intends to issue the first bonds in 2022, according to Bukele, implying that it will be within the next 60 days.