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President Nayib Bukele, giving a speech in El Salvador's legislative assembly in San Salvado earlier this month, pushed for bitcoin to become legal tender. Photo: Emerson Flores/APHOTOGRAFIA/Getty Images

The World Bank has rejected the government of El Salvador's request to help the country implement Bitcoin as legal tender, Reuters first reported late Wednesday.

Why it matters: The international lender's rejection could hamper the government's goal of making the digital currency accepted across the country within three months.

Driving the news: El Salvador's legislature last week became the first in the world to vote in favor of formally adopting bitcoin, with plans to use it alongside the U.S. dollar, the nation's official currency.

  • Finance Minister Alejandro Zelaya said earlier Wednesday that the government had asked the World Bank for "technical assistance" in implementing the cryptocurrency, per the BBC.
  • Zelaya said government officials had also held talks with the International Monetary Fund, which he said was "not against" the plans.

What they're saying: A World Bank spokesperson confirmed to Reuters that "the government did approach us for assistance on bitcoin," but said it couldn't directly help "given the environmental and transparency shortcomings" of bitcoin.

  • "We are committed to helping El Salvador in numerous ways including for currency transparency and regulatory processes," the spokesperson said.
  • An IMF spokesperson told reporters last week: "Adoption of bitcoin as legal tender raises a number of macroeconomic, financial and legal issues that require very careful analysis."

Go deeper: El Salvador moves into bitcoin

Go deeper

Sep 24, 2021 - Technology

New features spread Twitter's wings

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Twitter on Thursday announced a slew of new product updates, spanning everything from a creator fund to live audio improvements and even Bitcoin tips.

Why it matters: For years, Twitter made few changes to its product, instead relying mostly on ad innovations to grow its business. Now, it's adding new features faster than it ever has before.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker

Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates

A teacher prepares a hallway barrier to help students maintain social distancing at John B. Wright Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona, on Aug. 14, 2020. Photo: Cheney Orr/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) filed a lawsuit Friday against the Biden administration for ordering the state to stop allocating federal COVID relief funds to schools that don't comply with public health recommendations such as masking, the Arizona Republic reports.

Why it matters: The Treasury Department said last week that the state would have to pay back the money if Ducey does not redesignate the $173 million programs to ensure they don't "undermine efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19."

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