Tonga could adopt Bitcoin as legal tender, if laser-focused MP gets his way
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A member of Tonga’s parliament plans to draft a bill to make Bitcoin legal tender in the Pacific Islands nation.
If the bill were to pass, and MP Lord Fusitu’a seems confident it can, Tonga would follow El Salvador’s adoption of the original crypto as nationally recognised tender, which was fully enabled on September 7.
In an interview with the Financial Review this week, Fusitu’a said that his Bitcoin bill will be put before Tonga’s Legislative Assembly for consideration in May 2022.
Tonga relies on 38% of it's income from remittances—the highest dependance in the world. Up to 50% of that is lost in to parasitic services like Western Union. Adopting #Bitcoin will mean instantly 30% more income for the the people of Tonga.
— Ouroboros (@0urobro) October 5, 2021
Citing the fact that Tonga is “the highest remittance-dependent country on earth”, the MP told the publication that his country would benefit by making Bitcoin legal tender alongside the existing state currency – the Tongan Pa’anga.
“Nearly half our economy is money sent back from our diaspora,” said Fusitu’a, adding:
“To get those remittances to Tonga, Western Union takes a 30 per cent bite out of them, on average. It can be 50 per cent. In El Salvador, it’s closer to 50 per cent. So, our GDP in 2020 was $US510 million, 40 per cent of that is just over $US200 million so 30 per cent of that or $US60 million is fees alone to Western Union.”
An absolute treasure to chat to @e3btc on this episode. Covering Tonga's genealogical, social & political history from inception to date. Our political & economic realities to date & how ours & our region's GDP is vulnerable to the remittance industry & How #Bitcoin fixes this.🔥 https://t.co/HqYuBS6dc4
— Lord Fusitu'a (@LordFusitua) August 7, 2021
It’s the classic crypto cut-out-the-middleman use case, and it’s not difficult to see how it could benefit the country – potentially diverting considerable funds away from multinational financial facilitators straight to Tongan pockets. Well, digital wallets, that is.
But a lot needs to happen before “Bitcoin fixes this”. The bill has not been drafted yet and it would require a majority backing from other Tongan Legislative Assembly members, as well as the country’s sovereign ruler, King ‘Ahoʻeitu Tupou VI.
And there is, reportedly, already firmly voiced opposition for a Bitcoin move from the governor of the Reserve Bank of Tonga.
However, according to the AFR article, Lord Fusitu’a believes he already has the likely support of 12 of the 14 Legislative Assembly members he needs for a majority to get the bill pushed through to the king’s in-tray.
Probably with scant consideration of any particular existing political leanings, the cryptoverse loves getting behind Bitcoin-positive politicians. For example: El Salvador’s president Nayib Bukele, Miami’s mayor Francis Suarez, US Republican senators Pat Toomey and Cynthia Lummis, and, locally, Australia’s Liberal senator Andrew Bragg – just to name a handful.
And Bitcoin fans clearly have another ally in Tongan MP Lord Fusitu’a.
Yes brother it's me. Good to see you.
— Lord Fusitu'a (@LordFusitua) October 4, 2021