After the 2022 Bitcoin Conference hosted in Miami, the people left with the idea that Madeira, a small region in Portugal, would adopt Bitcoin as legal tender much like El Salvador.
Defining Bitcoin as legal tender would legally recognise the currency as an official accepted form of payment for taxes, debts and other financial matters. However it has been confirmed by government representatives in Madeira that there are no plans to make Bitcoin legal tender.
Moments before the president of Madeira – Miguel Albuquerque – stepped onto the main stage at the Miami Bitcoin conference, Samson Mow, ex-Blockstream chief strategy officer, suggested that Madeira would in fact be “adopting bitcoin”. Furthermore, Miguel Albuquerque’s talk followed an announcement that a economic zone in Honduras – Próspera – would recognise Bitcoin as a legal currency.
Albuquerque made no mention to making bitcoin legal tender during his speech. However after the speech, multiple large media outlets ran with the story that Madeira was following in the footsteps of what El Salvador has done with bitcoin. Forbes reported that Madeira would be “adopting bitcoin as de facto legal tender”. Cointelegraph wrote that “the next jurisdiction to make Bitcoin legal tender is that of Madeira.”
An official representative from the president’s office has since confirmed this is not the case, reiterating in an email to the media that “at no time was it said that the region would adopt Bitcoin as legal tender.”
In a means to attract foreign investment – Albuquerque said that companies coming into Madeira can pay taxes as low as 5%, due to Portugal’s Madeira Free Trade Zone, which was established in the 1980s. He also said that there were no income taxes on bitcoin investments, which is true for all cryptocurrencies everywhere in Portugal.
Meanwhile, the president told the local newspaper Diário de Notícias da Madeira that his intention was to use the conference appearance to promote Madeira as an attractive tech hub. “It was an opportunity that came up and I had to take it,” Albuquerque told the publication.