El Salvador’s president, Nayib Bukele, claims that 2.1 million citizens are using the new government-backed Chivo cryptocurrency wallet. In a tweet, he alluded to Bitcoin’s apparent success in the country. El Salvador became the first country to legalize bitcoin as legal tender on September 7, 2021.
President Nayib Bukele shared this update with his 2.9 million Twitter followers on Saturday afternoon. He claimed that after only three weeks of operation, Chivo “now has more users than any bank in El Salvador.” He also stated that, despite the fact that Chivo is not a bank, it already has more users than any bank in El Salvador and that it is only a matter of time before the wallet’s adoption exceeds that of all banks in El Salvador combined.
2.1 million Salvadorans are ACTIVELY USING @chivowallet (not downloads).
Chivo is not a bank, but in less than 3 weeks, it now has more users than any bank in El Salvador and is moving fast to have more users that ALL BANKS IN EL SALVADOR combined.
This is wild!#Bitcoin🇸🇻
— Nayib Bukele 🇸🇻 (@nayibbukele) September 25, 2021
Chivo Wallet from El Salvador
El Salvador officially recognized Bitcoin as legal tender in early September, prompting the launch of the state-issued wallet. Individuals and businesses can use Chivo to send and receive payments in Bitcoin (BTC) or dollars (USD) from anywhere in the world. Merchants must allow customers to pay in both currencies. Some merchants, however, have stated that they would rather lose sales than accept bitcoin payments.
The wallet is compatible with both Android and iOS devices. Bitso, a Latin American cryptocurrency exchange, is the Chivo wallet’s primary service provider. El Salvador now has over 200 bitcoin ATMs, making it the country with the third-highest number of ATMs after the United States and Canada.
President Bukele’s target is 2.5 million Salvadorans, or roughly 39% of the population. When people download the wallet app, the government will give them $30 in bitcoin as a reward.
Adoption of Bitcoin in the Country
According to President Bukele’s most recent update, the Bitcoin Law is being well received by El Salvadorans. However, many protestors have taken to the streets to express their displeasure.
According to reports, some protesters even set fire to a brand-new Bitcoin machine, while others carried signs that read “Bukele Dictator.” Protesters claim that the president is using authoritarian tactics to consolidate power. On the 200th anniversary of the country’s independence, they gathered in San Salvador’s capital, holding placards that read “No to Bitcoin” and “Respect the Constitution.”
Aside from the protests, there were glitches reported during the initial rollout. One machine completed only three successful transactions out of many in the first week. Many Salvadorans are also skeptical of bitcoin due to its volatility.
According to a recent survey conducted by Sherlock Communications, a Brazilian advertising agency, 54% of Salvadorans are unfamiliar with Bitcoin.