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Seminar: El Salvador and Bitcoin: Why and what and is it a Good Thing or a Bad Thing?

National Economics University

E-PhD Program Seminar Series

El Salvador and Bitcoin:

Why and what and is it a Good Thing or a Bad Thing?


Gabriel Stein

Stein Brothers (UK)



Date, Time and Venue

Date: Friday, 14 October 2022

Time: 4.00PM – 5.00PM

Venue: Seminar Room 15.01, Building A1, National Economics University

207 Giai Phong Road, Hanoi, Vietnam


Cryptocurrencies were introduced to the world in 2008 with Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System by Satoshi Nakamoto (almost certainly a pseudonym). This paper introduced a private, unregulated non-physical currency. Since then, thousands of cryptocurrencies have been created, but Bitcoin remains the largest. Cryptocurrency proponents range from libertarians, who hope that cryptocurrency will replace government-issued fiat money, to investors and to actors in the illegal economy. In 2021, El Salvador legislated to make Bitcoin legal tender, the first time this occurred on a national scale. However, there are problems with this move. First, it displays a misunderstanding of what legal tender actually means. Second, in spite of the sometimes extravagant claims from cryptocurrency proponents, neither Bitcoin, nor other cryptocurrencies, are money, in that they fail to fulfil the three functions of money outlined by Stanley Jevons. More to the point, they are unlikely ever to be money. In this talk, Gabriel Stein, examines cryptocurrencies from a monetary perspective; discusses the El Salvador experience with Bitcoin and what conclusions can be drawn from this experiment.

Keywords: Bitcoin, El Salvador, money, legal tender, cryptocurrency.


About presenter

Gabriel Stein graduated from the Stockholm School of Economics in 1980 (MScEcon equivalent), specializing in International Economics and Economic Policy. From 1982 to 1991 he ran Stein Brothers, a macroeconomic consultancy in Stockholm and (from 1990) in London. From 1991 to 2017 he worked as a macroeconomic forecaster in the City of London, specializing in money and monetary analysis. He has guest lectured at a number of universities in countries like China, the United States, Germany, Mongolia and Gibraltar; he has taught EU Politics and Policy at St Mary’s University Twickenham in London; and is teaching Macroeconomic Theory at the University of Buckingham. Gabriel is currently undertaking a PhD in Economics History at the University of Buckingham, where he already has an MA in Military History. He has written four historical novels.


About series

This seminar series is part of the E-PhD Program at National Economics University. It targets PhD students, early-career researchers, and senior faculty who are interested in doing research in the areas of economics, business, management, and other inter-disciplinary fields of social science. The series is a platform for the wider research community to exchange ideas, networks and collaborations.


Contact details

Bach Ngoc Thang

E-PhD Seminar series coordinator

Room 15.04, Building A1

Institute for Sustainable Development

National Economics University

207 Giai Phong Road, Hanoi, Vietnam

M: +84 35 443 1750

E:  bnthang@gmail.com, or thangbn@neu.edu.vn

W: http://isd.neu.edu.vn/