El Salvador is reporting that more than half a million residents are using the new Chivo wallet system, which is designed to assist in the country’s rollout of bitcoin as an official legal tender.
El Salvador Doesn’t Have Much to Brag About
This would be fine and dandy except for one thing… El Salvador has more than 6.5 million residents. Thus, many individuals are either still not trusting bitcoin enough to use the wallet, or there are too many problems with the rollout, and at the time of writing, it looks like the latter may be the bigger reason.
El Salvador is touting this half-a-mill figure as something to brag about, but the fact remains that there are still many technical glitches preventing bitcoin from being utilized the way it should. It has been roughly two weeks since the country unveiled bitcoin as an official currency of the nation. However, things have gotten off to a slow start given that the Chivo wallet has crashed and been down for maintenance several times since it was installed.
Some have been unable to download the wallet completely, while others have obtained the wallet but cannot use the $30 in free BTC their wallets give them. One user named Cesar Estrada runs a street vending business and has had this problem himself. In a recent interview, he states:
After several attempts, I managed to download the Chivo wallet, but I haven’t been able to use the $30.
One of the big problems associated with the bitcoin rollout has been false information, according to one employee of the wallet system. While remaining anonymous, the speaker discussed some of the issues at hand:
The problems continue, but there has also been a lot of false information. People are saying that if someone downloads the app, the government can spy on them, or even empty their bank accounts. So many things have been said that it gets into people’s heads, and added to that is at first, the system collapsed, and the errors have continued.
It is hard to know if this is indeed false data, or if it’s just being touted as false data because regulators do not want residents to know what’s being done behind closed doors. Either way, there are certainly trust issues floating around town as of late, and despite months of alleged planning, the system is letting users – and the country – down in a big way.
A Message from the President
President Nayib Bukele commented about the recent rollout disasters on his Twitter feed, explaining:
We set ourselves a goal that was too ambitious and we made mistakes, but we corrected things, and hundreds of thousands of Salvadorians can now use their Chivo wallets with no problem. Soon, everyone who wants to can also enjoy the benefits.