Largest Bank in El Salvador Partners With Flexa on Bitcoin Payments
Market Musings

Largest Bank in El Salvador Partners With Flexa on Bitcoin Payments

By Leo Jakobson
1mo ago
2m

The payments network has teamed up with Bancoagrícola to bring Bitcoin payment capability to its Salvadoran customers.

Largest Bank in El Salvador Partners With Flexa on Bitcoin Payments

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El Salvador’s September 7 launch of Bitcoin as a legal tender was less than auspicious, with the cryptocurrency suffering a flash crash that morning that slashed as much as 20% off its price.

But while that may have dampened the excitement on an occasion dubbed Bitcoin Day by the crypto faithful of Twitter and Reddit, the country is moving ahead with the transition.

On September 9, pure-digital payments network Flexa announced that it has partnered with the Central American country’s largest bank, Bancoagrícola, that will allow it to accept Bitcoin payments for its loans and credit cards, as well as at its merchant payment network’s members.

Carlos Mauricio Novoa, COO of Bancoagrícola, said:

“We are excited to be the first financial institution in El Salvador to enable bitcoin access for our customers across our entire suite of financial products and to enhance financial inclusion. Flexa has been instrumental in helping us prioritize our customers’ experiences using bitcoin as legal tender in El Salvador; we look forward to continuing to innovate alongside them for a long time to come.”

The bank’s customers can now use any Flexa or Lightning-enabled wallet app to make Bitcoin payments on Bancoagrícola financial products. The companies promised these would be “at the exact fair market rate” — no specifics on how that would be determined — with no additional fees. 

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A Hasty Policy

El Salvador’s somewhat hasty decision to make Bitcoin a legal tender in the country, which uses the U.S. dollar, brought more than a little controversy, with groups ranging from bond rating agency Moody’s — which downgraded the country’s debt in late July, citing the Bitcoin move as an example of poor policy choices — to the International Monetary Fund.
The IMF in July warned that “as national currency, cryptoassets — including Bitcoin — come with substantial risks to macro-financial stability, financial integrity, consumer protection, and the environment.”
On August 3, the Financial Times said that the “warning suggests 40-year-old president Nayib Bukele’s plans could complicate relations” as the country seeks a badly needed $1.3 billion loan.

Beyond that, more than two-thirds of Salvadorans polled by Reuters in early September disapproved of the Bitcoin project.