El Salvador’s recent Bitcoin law may have been well-received by locals despite the controversy that trailed its adoption in the last few weeks. According to reports, president Nayib Bukele announced that the Chivo Bitcoin wallet which was rolled out to support the country’s adoption has been downloaded by 1.1 million Salvadorans just 10 days after its launch.
Although the 1.1 million downloads account for 17% of El Salvador’s population, it is a significant development, given the revolt from some locals against the law. Last week, it was reported that a section of Salvadorans comprising pensioners, retirees, veterans and a group of people named the Rebellion Block had embarked on several remonstrations, destroying a part of the infrastructure authorities had set up to facilitate Bitcoin transactions. On September 7, president Bukele announced that 200 Bitcoin ATMs including Chivo kiosks had been set up across the country.
El Salvador’s Chivo Wallet Fails at First Launch
While announcing the latest development via a tweet, the president failed to address the failed Chivo wallet launch. As soon as the Chivo wallet was released, it was reported that it had begun experiencing issues with president Nayib Bukele announcing that the Chivo wallet had been taken down to fix the issues.
It is likely that downloads would have exceeded 1.1 million but for 65% of the smartphone models in El Salvador that do not support the Chivo wallet. Notwithstanding, locals who sign up will receive $30 worth of Bitcoin each. The president had made this known in July following the passage of the bill earlier in the same month by the majority of Congress.
Bitcoin Will Help El Salvador Preserve $400 Million
El Salvador’s new Bitcoin law will help it preserve over $400 million it loses as remittance costs to payment service providers such as Western Union, Moneygram. President Bukele has declared in previous reports that the flagship cryptocurrency will help the Central American country address the issue of high remittance costs.
According to a report by CNBC, in just 2020, residents in El Salvador received up to $6 billion in remittances from abroad, some of which were sent from their friends or relatives who reside there. President Bukele strongly believes that the whopping sum leaving the country would be a thing of the past since transactions on the Chivo wallet will be free.
El Salvador’s bold step with Bitcoin has received many accolades and recently instigated a crypto law in Ukraine that allows the country to recognize Bitcoin as a legal currency or store of value. Other countries in the region had previously indicated interest in filling El Salvador’s shoes.
Lawmakers in Paraguay and Mexico, a few days after El Salvador passed its bill, noted they were deliberating on similar laws. However, they have likely adopted a wait-and-see approach to observe the outcome of the decision in El Salvador. Perhaps they would reconsider given the partially bad reception on El Salvador’s Bitcoin law. Whatever the case may be, the coming months have a lot to reveal.