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Volaris – a low-cost airline company based in El Salvador – explained in a recent press release that it will begin accepting bitcoin for plane tickets.
El Salvador Is Moving Ahead in the BTC Space
The news was confirmed by the country’s president Nayib Bukele and is another push towards a crypto-based society. In a tweet, the president stated:
This allows us to increase the offering of flights for Salvadorians, in addition to being the first airline in the world to accept bitcoin and of course Chivo wallet.
El Salvador made history this year when it decided it was going to be the first country to declare bitcoin legal tender. While this had been discussed in the past, the Central American nation is the first to move forward on the notion of making BTC legal to use for purchases. The country has many reasons for doing so, the biggest one arguably being remittance payments.
As it stands, many residents of El Salvador work abroad in places like the U.S. They are often tasked with sending money home to their families but sending money home in USD or other forms of fiat can be quite expensive. Ultimately, after fees are taken out, it is not uncommon for those sending money home to lose everything they’ve earned to said fees.
Bukele doesn’t want to see this happen anymore. The country has long been dependent on USD to survive, and Bukele is interested in seeing how bitcoin will work in the remittance space. He believes that bitcoin will lessen these fees and allow families to collect more of what members earn abroad.
The situation has been an interesting one in that as El Salvador is the first to implement such protocols, the system supporting bitcoin has not always worked. Right now, the Central American country has developed what’s known as the Chivo wallet, which is the digital wallet system available to all citizens looking to collect and trade BTC.
The wallet has encountered several technical glitches along the way. It has been down from time to time and has prevented people from gaining access to their funds or utilizing their assets.
Furthermore, El Salvador has taken a lot of flak for what some claim is a very risky venture. The World Bank, for example, was asked for help by El Salvador’s regulators in implementing the new bitcoin agenda, but the institution said “no,” claiming that bitcoin was simply too volatile to take seriously.
Some Issues to Overcome
There have also been many protests throughout the country from residents who were perfectly fine utilizing and being dependent on USD. They claim to not understand bitcoin. They also say it is dangerous in that it is often used for money laundering and other illicit actions.
In any case, El Salvador appears to be moving full steam ahead given that it is now using volcano-based energy to mine new BTC units.