• A Tonga politician hopes to follow in the footsteps of El Salvador’s Bitcoin pioneers

  • Lord Fusitu’a, a Tongan parliamentarian, believes the country can follow El Salvador’s lead and accept Bitcoin as legal tender.

    “Tonga is the most remittance-dependent country on the planet. Remittances account for between 38 and 41.1 percent of our GDP, depending on which World Bank figures you use,” Fusitu’a explained.

    “To get those remittances to Tonga, Western Union takes a 30 percent cut on average. It is possible that it will be 50%. In El Salvador, it’s closer to 50%,” he added, laying out a common justification advanced by Bitcoin supporters for the use of the leading cryptocurrency as legal tender.

    Fusitu’a is not only convinced of Bitcoin’s ability to reduce the cost of remittances; he is also completely sold on Bitcoin itself.

    “Bitcoin is the world’s first truly global, natively open monetary system.” “If your goal is decentralization and complete, egalitarian democratization of money, blockchain is the most optimal storage medium for money,” he said.

    ‘Jack Mallers’ Strikes Once More

    Fusitu’a specifically mentioned Jack Mallers’ Strike, a digital wallet of Chicago-based Zap Solutions Inc., as a potential way for Tonga to accept Bitcoin as payment.

    Mallers is a staunch supporter of Bitcoin as legal tender. Not only does the CEO of Zap believe that Bitcoin makes remittances cheaper, but he also believes that the flagship cryptocurrency is the best solution to traditional currency inflation.

    “Is the kid I went to high school with going to lean over a Manhattan bar and drink a $35 Old Fashioned while telling me Bitcoin doesn’t matter? Mallers said at this year’s Bitcoin Conference in Miami, “Privileged fucking asshole.”

    Fusitu’a even went so far as to say that using Strike to send money back to Tonga would not necessitate an act of parliament or even approval from the National Reserve Bank of Tonga.

    Earlier this year that Zap Solutions Ltd lacked the necessary licenses to operate in nearly every state in the United States. At the time, experts speculated that many cash and cryptocurrency transfers to El Salvador via Stike were potentially illegal.

    Tonga, not so fast.

    Fusitu’a, like Mallers, is eager to see Bitcoin arrive on Tonga’s white-sand beaches, but his enthusiasm is not shared by everyone in the country.

    The governor of the Reserve Bank of Tonga, Sione Ngongo Kioa, reportedly stated that the bank has no plans to accept Bitcoin as legal tender any time soon.

    “It is highly unlikely that Bitcoin will be adopted as an official alternative currency,” he said.

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