Digital Assets: World Bank Snub Regardless, El Salvador Announces Bitcoin Wallets, ATMs
President Nayib Bukele announces the Chivo bitcoin wallet for El Salvador citizens.
Speaking to the nation on Thursday, El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele said that bitcoin will become legal tender in El Salvador effective September 7. Bukele also gave details of the Chivo bitcoin wallet that Salvadoreans could use and which would be credited with a free $30 worth of bitcoin for signing up. (Business Insider)
It may be recalled that last week, the World Bank refused El Salvador’s request for technical assistance in implementing bitcoin as legal tender. Earlier, the IMF, which is evaluating a $1 billion line of aid to El Salvador, said “crypto assets can pose significant risks, and effective regulatory measures are very important when dealing with them.”
Nevertheless, President Bukele appears determined to chart his country’s adoption of bitcoin as legal tender – a global first.
Chivo wallet for El Salvador citizens
Bukele announced that citizens may use the country’s new and official digital wallet called Chivo to store cryptocurrencies.
In token of appreciation for signing up, each citizen would receive $30 as a free credit into the wallet once registration is complete.
The Chivo wallet is an app that works on both Android and iOS devices. It would be online on September 7.
Bitcoin not mandatory
However, a citizen doesn’t need to use bitcoin compulsorily and may continue to use the dollar which has so far been used as the country’s currency of exchange.
Bukele dismissed rumors that salaries and pensions would be henceforth be paid in bitcoin as a “dirty campaign.” These would still be paid in dollars and dollar-denominated bank accounts and deposits would continue as before.
However, users would be free to convert these dollars into bitcoin if required.
Athena, which is based in Chicago, USA, will place 1,500 bitcoin ATMs around El Salvador to boost the country’s nascent crypto economy and to ensure liquidity.
The firm plans to invest over $1 million to install crypto ATMs in El Salvador, open a local office, and hire employees for its operations in the country.
The new ATMs would be, in the first instance, located in those regions that account for a high proportion of El Salvador’s inward foreign remittances.
“The state will promote the training and the necessary mechanisms so that the population can access the benefits of bitcoin transactions,” said Bukele during the national broadcast. “Therefore, the State will improve the network connectivity.”
Image credit: Twitter
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