local news reports El Salvador’s Chivo bitcoin wallet has already surpassed 500,000 users.
According to local media reports, El Salvador’s digital Bitcoin wallet Chivo has already reached half a million users. The country introduced the wallet on September 7th.
Users receive $30 in Bitcoin as an incentive when they first download the wallet. By September 7, the country had bought 400 bitcoins.
Bitcoin integration in El Salvador got off to a somewhat bumpy start as there have been several protests against its introduction. Protests came from both opposition forces and citizens – the latter marched on the streets and even filed a lawsuit.
The country has taken a number of measures to incentivize the use of Bitcoin. For example, foreigners are exempted from capital gains tax on their Bitcoin profits. In addition, if they decide to move and take an entrepreneurial initiative, they are granted permanent residence permits.
El Salvadorans celebrated its Independence Day on September 15th and many protested in the streets against the current government and its BTC initiative. It also became known that vandals destroyed Bitcoin ATMs in the country, which is further evidence of the displeasure with the new law.
El Salvadorans think Bitcoin further cemented existing inequalities – a concern that has been one of the main problems citizens have with the government. They also indicate that the bitcoins in the Chivo wallet could be confiscated by the government.
But Undeniable is the fact that BTC payments actually lower the cost of cross-border payments. CNBC recently reported that Western union and other payment processors were taking whopping 400 million away from El Salvador in shape of remittances fees.
“President Nayib Bukele estimates that money services providers like Western Union and MoneyGram will lose $400 million a year in commissions for remittances.”
Other countries in the region are paying close attention to the development, which is the first of its kind.