The prolonged system failures and an intense rumor campaign doubts and mistrust have grown in El Salvador about the use of bitcoin as legal tender.
Since it came into force on September 7, the Chivo wallet electronic wallet and the unicameral Congress have been made available to Salvadorans, controlled by the president’s New Ideas party Nayib Bukele, approved a trust that will be used to pay a $ 30 bond to Salvadorans to encourage their use. The Chivo wallet allows you to convert cryptocurrencies into dollars.
Bukele explained that with the Chivo wallet the Salvadorans can accept payments in bitcoin or dollars, receive money from family or friends and send or receive remittances without paying commissions. He clarified that no one is obliged to download the application and that if he so decides, he can continue to send remittances through traditional means and continue to pay commissions.
Nevertheless, the system has exhibited continuous failures.
“After several attempts I managed to download the Chivo wallet, but I have not managed to use the 30 dollars… because it only happens in maintenance, ” César Estrada, a 35-year-old salesman, told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
Monday night President Bukele admitted that the application has failed in the implementation.
“We set ourselves too high a challenge (to launch everything in three months) and we made mistakes, but we are already correcting them and hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans can already use their (at) chivowallet without problems. Soon. everyone who wishes will also be able to enjoy its benefits” Bukele said on his Twitter account.
And then he added: “So it has been said! Those who can. Those who cannot, have to wait, but it will be worth it. We are working so that the user experience get better and better. ”
Bukele explained that, due to technical problems, the download is not enabled for all types of phones. However, he assured that “currently we have more than half a million users”.
One of the young people who attend the Chivo points, who only identified himself as Steven, told AP that “they have followed the failures, but there is also a lot of misinformation, they have been told that if they download the application the government will expire them, that they can even empty their bank accounts. ”
“You hear so many things that have put people in the head and to this we must add that the system first collapsed and then the errors have followed,” he added.
Meanwhile, President Bukele, who leads bitcoin information on social media, reported that more shops are added every day that accept payments in bitcoin or dollars using other applications in addition to the Chivo wallet.
According to the Bitcoin Law, approved on June 8, every economic agent must accept bitcoin as a form of payment when it is offered by whoever acquires a good or service. However, those who, due to a notorious fact and obviously do not have access to the technologies that allow transactions in bitcoin, are excluded.
The US dollar will continue to be the currency of El Salvador and nobody will be obliged to pay in bitcoin, according to the noma.
AP visited fast food restaurant chains, shopping malls and businesses and was able to confirm that most already receive bitcoin through the Chivo wallet or another wallet.
The use of bitcoin is not new in El Salvador. In 2019 an anonymous American donor supported about 500 fishing families and farmers who had never had access to a bank account or electronic transactions to become the pioneers in the use of cryptocurrency in El Zonte.
El Zonte, 43 kilometers from the capital, is a beach famous for its intense waves and one of the main tourist destinations for surfers and foreign tourists in El Salvador. Too it is the main center of circulation of bitcoin in the Central American country.
Restaurants, shops, small grocery stores, and even ice shaver vendors receive payments with the Bitcoin Beach wallet.