Tim Draper asks Sri Lanka if it has ‘the guts’ to adopt bitcoin

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Venture capitalist Tim Draper has built a name for himself as the boy who cried bitcoin. In 2018, he predicted bitcoin would reach $250,000 by the end of 2022. Now, he’s “100% sure” it’ll reach that value by the end of the year.

Perhaps the only way to make such a thing possible is if more countries adopt the crypto as legal tender. Bitcoin appears to be deepening El Salvador’s financial crisis instead of alleviating it — but Draper is traveling around the world to sell other troubled governments on his bitcoin vision, anyway.

Unfortunately for him, Sri Lanka was having none of it.

Draper was in town to shoot a TV episode when he met recently elected President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Tuesday and the following day, re-told his spiel about bitcoin adoption at the central bank. According to Bloomberg, he was met with icy feedback.

  • President Wickremesinghe, 73, replaced ousted Gotabaya Rajapaksa after fuel and food shortages sparked nationwide protests last year.
  • The economy shrunk 8% in 2022, while food insecurity remains at 30% and inflation at 59%.
  • The government has introduced a series of tax increases and subsidy cuts that, while necessary, have made the president even more unpopular.

In a meeting with Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe, Draper announced, “I come to the central bank with decentralized currency.”

“We don’t accept,” Weerasinghe replied, reportedly taking a sip of fizzy ginger beer. The whole ordeal was apparently over in 30 minutes.

Draper tells Sri Lanka its reputation sucks

Draper went on to explain how Sri Lanka is known the world over for corruption — bitcoin can fix that, he said, through accountable bookkeeping.

“Have you seen Sri Lanka in the news? It’s known as the corruption capital,” Draper said. “A country known for corruption will be able to keep perfect records with the adoption of bitcoin.”

Read more: Explained: El Salvador’s contentious bitcoin-backed Volcano Bonds

When explaining Sri Lanka’s poor reputation to its own leadership didn’t work, Draper tried… another approach. “Does the administration have the guts to do it?” he provoked. “What’s the advantage of having your own currency?”

The governor reportedly replied by explaining that other tech could achieve the country’s goals just fine. “We don’t want to make the crisis worse by introducing bitcoin,” he said.

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