Can Bitcoin become a legal tender in Tonga?

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Since 2021, Tonga has been mentioned in media as one of the nations that could legalize Bitcoin. The current discussion promoted by Tongan Bitcoin supporters is to make Bitcoin a legal tender and national currency, similar to the El Salvador case. According to several analysts, Bitcoin could be officially accepted already in February.

The current discussions about Bitcoin in Tonga are interesting for several reasons regarding factors such as the usage of geothermal energy by using active volcanos in the country. The discussion about volcano-driven electricity production reflects the situation in  El Salvador where such energy is already used for Bitcoin mining. 

Another interesting idea is to create a basic income or monetary divided system shared directly to citizens as a result of income thanks to Bitcoin mining. This idea is promoted by a former member of the Tongan parliament, Lord Fusitu’a, one of the main promoters of Bitcoin legalization. Among other things, Lord Fusitu’a has spoken about “financial freedom” and reducing economic dependence on international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund. 

When it comes to wealth and quality of life, Tonga is seen as among the poorest countries worldwide. The country’s economic development and daily life depend much on remittances and payments made by Tongans living in other parts of the world as Australia. Thereby, it remains to be seen how economic decentralization can improve the situation in Tonga during the 2020s. 

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