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Sri Lanka rejects billionaire Tim Draper’s Bitcoin pitch to tackle corruption

Sri Lanka rejects billionaire Tim Draper's Bitcoin pitch to tackle corruption

Tim Draper, a prominent cryptocurrency advocate, and billionaire investor faced unexpected resistance during his recent visit to Sri Lanka. The Silicon Valley entrepreneur was in the country to film an episode of his TV show “Meet the Drapers” and to promote the widespread adoption of Bitcoin

However, his proposal was not well received in a 30-minute meeting by the country’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe, who is currently focused on stabilizing the nation’s financial situation, according to a report by Bloomberg on February 3.

Despite Draper’s confident pitch, “I come to the central bank with decentralized currency,” dressed in a Bitcoin tie and armed with the concept of decentralized currency, his ideas were not embraced during a meeting at the central bank.

“We do not accept,” Weerasinghe remarked curtly. 

This was a colder reception for Draper than he has had elsewhere. For example, the Pacific island nation of Palau made him the first person to participate in its digital-residency program. 

Draper doubles down on rejection

During the meeting with Governor Weerasinghe, Draper persisted in his efforts to promote cryptocurrency adoption. He posed the question of whether the administration had the bravery to take on such a project and emphasized the benefits of having a proprietary currency. Draper expressed his concerns for the country and highlighted the current financial crisis as a unique opportunity for Sri Lanka. He argued that the adoption of Bitcoin could help alleviate corruption by maintaining an accurate record of transactions.

However, Governor Weerasinghe pointed out that other technologies can effectively provide financial services and disburse welfare payments to underserved populations. He also noted that a country without its own currency would lack monetary independence and that introducing Bitcoin during a time of crisis could potentially worsen the situation.

He stated, “We don’t want to make the crisis worse by introducing Bitcoin.”

Sri Lanka economic crisis

Riots broke out in Sri Lanka last year due to fuel and food shortages, prompting the then-president to quit and eventually escape the country. The debt-ridden country is now in debt-restructuring negotiations with foreign creditors in the hopes that the International Monetary Fund would devise a rescue plan. The governor reported that inflation was 54.2%, and economic growth had dropped to 8% in the previous year. 

Cryptocurrency proponents may see such as a utopia for widespread Bitcoin use. One of the most common applications for cryptocurrencies is as a stable store of value that is not subject to shifts in the central bank or government policies. 

Draper even brought up El Salvador, which has officially recognized Bitcoin as legal tender. However, examples like as El Salvador’s narrowly avoided default only last month may serve more as a warning than anything else.

However, back in 2021 Sri Lanka deemed crypto solutions a necessity, forming a team to oversee shift.

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