Ecuador Bans Bitcoin, Plans Own Digital Money
by Stan Higgins
Jul 25, 2014
The National Assembly of Ecuador has effectively banned bitcoin and decentralized digital currencies while establishing guidelines for the creation of a new, state-run currency.
With 91 votes in favor of the amendments to the country’s existing monetary and financial laws, the National Assembly approved a bill that now goes to President Rafael Correa for signature.
The law gives the government permission to make payments in ‘electronic money’, but decentralized digital currencies like bitcoin will now be prohibited.
The proposed electronic money is to be backed by the assets of the Banco Central del Ecuador, the nation’s central bank. The National Assembly will oversee the new currency while the central bank will develop and integrate it into the broader financial system. The electronic money will operate in tandem with the US dollar, Ecuador’s official currency, although it is not certain what exchange rate will be established.
Following the final tally, the National Assembly issued a statement declaring that the new electronic money would offer benefits to both the underbanked and the broader economy, saying:
“Electronic money will stimulate the economy, it will be possible to attract more Ecuadorian citizens, especially those who do not have checking or savings accounts and credit cards alone. The electronic currency will be backed by the assets of the Central Bank of Ecuador.”
Community voices concern prior to vote
Prior to the debate on amendments that instituted the decentralized digital currency prohibition, members of the local bitcoin community sought to shape the final outcome.