El Salvador’s Bitcoin Wallet Outperforms Banks in Opening Weeks

September 28, 2021, 10:15 AM AEST - 2 weeks ago

More than two million El Salvadoreans are already actively using the Bitcoin wallet Chivo, according to the president of the Central American republic.

In just three weeks since bitcoin (BTC) officially became legal tender in El Salvador, roughly one-third of the population is using the wallet.

On legalising BTC, President Nakib Bukele promised locals they could receive US$30 worth of the asset if they downloaded a Chivo wallet. Despite technical issues with the app’s launch, engagement levels show there are now more users than there are bank account holders in El Salvador.

It’s Been a Bumpy Roll-Out

The roll-out of El Salvador’s brave new bitcoin world has not been without its pitfalls. Just over a week after BTC was legalised, protesters set fire to a Chivo ATM machine in the Plaza Gerardo Barrios, located in the nation’s capital city centre. The September 15 pro-democracy demonstration coincided with the bicentenary of El Salvadorean independence.

Three times this month, the government has “bought the dip” as the price of bitcoin fluctuated and it now has an accumulated stash of 700 BTC. The practice has attracted its share of critics, with economist and long-term gold proponent Peter Schiff warning: “Be careful what you wish for. The dip may end up being a much larger plunge than you expect.”

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