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Problems continue to disrupt El Savador bitcoin rollout


A week after El Salvador became the first country to make bitcoin legal tender, problems continue to plague the system

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – A week after El Salvador became the first country to make bitcoin legal tender, problems continued to disrupt the system on Tuesday.

El Salvador deployed a digital wallet known as “Chivo” on September 8, but the system was often down for maintenance. It may have been overburdened by the large number of Salvadorans seeking to take advantage of the $ 30 bonus that the government put in each account to encourage adoption.

Even users like street vendor César Estrada, who were able to download the wallet, were unable to access the bitcoins.

“After several attempts, I managed to download the Chivo wallet, but couldn’t use the $ 30,” Estrada said.

The problems are not limited to technical problems. One of the young workers at the Chivo ATMs set up to process transactions acknowledged this.

“The problems continue, but there has also been a lot of misinformation,” said the worker, who would only identify as Steven,

“People say that if someone downloads the app, the government can spy on them, or even drain their bank accounts,” he said in disbelief. “So much has been said that it gets into people’s heads, and on top of that, at first the system broke down and the mistakes continued.”

President Nayib Bukele, the main proponent of the use of cryptocurrency, has acknowledged that the government’s three-month rollout may be too ambitious. He said technical issues prevented the app from working with certain types of phones.

Last week, bitcoin joined the US dollar as legal tender in El Salvador. Any company with the technological capability to do so is required to accept payment in bitcoin, but no citizen is required to use it. Recent opinion polls in El Salvador have indicated that a majority of Salvadorans oppose making it an official currency.

“So everyone go out and use their @chivowallet!” “Bukele wrote:” Anyone who can. Those who cannot, they will have to wait, but it will be worth it! We are working to make the user experience better and better. “

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ABC News