Amid Staunch Criticism, President Bukele Reveals El Salvador’s Bitcoin Wallet Will Be Working 100% In Coming Days

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Amid Staunch Criticism, President Bukele Reveals El Salvador's Bitcoin Wallet Will Be Working 100% In Coming Days
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Key Takeaways

  • El Salvador’s Chivo wallet issues 95% resolved.
  • Critics of the country’s Bitcoin adoption point out the wallet flaws as indicators of deeper problems.
  • The country’s government is however determined to prove doubters wrong. 

Yesterday, El Salvador’s president Nayib Bukele revealed that 95% of the technical issues the country’s official Bitcoin wallet – Chivo wallet – encountered on launch day have been resolved. He adds that the wallet should be 100% functional for all users in the next few days.

He also adds that all other features that are to add to the ease of use of Bitcoin were being completed too. These include the local Bitcoin ATMs as well as those spread out in the U.S., Chivo centers in the country, and the option to recharge the wallet with debit, credit as well as gift cards globally.

Recall that the wallet has had issues since the day it was rolled out as part of the implementation of the country’s Bitcoin Law. Users of the wallet which promises commission-free transactions faced problems in accessing the wallet, withdrawing money from ATMs, and data verification, as well as the government not depositing the $30 bonus promised to all Chivo users, were the most frequent issues, according to user complaints posted on Twitter and Facebook.

The president has reassured citizens that work is being done to resolve the issues and several of them have already been resolved. He concedes that the tight schedule for the law’s implementation could have affected the rollout.

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“We set ourselves too high a challenge (launch everything in 3 months) and we made mistakes,” Bukele said adding “but we are already correcting them and hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans CAN ALREADY use their Chivowallet. No problem. Soon everyone who wants it will also be able to enjoy its benefits.”

The glitches that the digital wallet has faced have been capitalized on by critics who have accused the government of running a scam with the adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender.  Notably, a Wall Street Journal article called the wallet “a government-sponsored enterprise with little transparency.” The article goes on to argue that Bitcoin adoption opens the door for de-dollarization of the country’s economy without the public’s approval and poses a risk to the country’s taxpayers.

The same sentiment is shared by popular cryptocurrency market skeptic, Mr. Whale who criticized the wallet as being centralized and using the Bitcoin Lightning network instead of the main chain.

“…They’re using LN, and Chivo, which is entirely centralized. If they actually supported Bitcoin, they would use Bitcoin and support decentralized wallets. It’s clearly just a power grab by their dictator” he said about El Salvador. 

However, the level of commitment and accountability shown so far by the government warrants a reconsideration of the criticisms. The Bukele led government has despite all criticisms been very determined in accelerating the adoption of Bitcoin for his country folks as well as attracting investment to the country.

This has been demonstrated in the law that has made it mandatory for all businesses in the country to accept Bitcoin in the country while also leaving the final settlement of the transaction optional in either Bitcoin or dollars. To further incentivize foreign investment, the country has also promised tax exemptions as well as citizenship for foreigners who invest Bitcoin in the country.