The Salvadoran government’s Bitcoin digital wallet Chivo was besieged by technical issues for the fourth day in a row, a setback that could discourage locals from signing up for the software championed by President Nayib Bukele.
According to conversations with at least 10 users and user concerns made on Twitter and Facebook, the most common issues were accessing the wallet, withdrawing money from ATMs, and data verification, as well as the government not depositing the $30 (€25) incentive Bukele promised all Chivo users.
Melvin Vasquez, a 30-year-old tattoo artist, downloaded Chivo on the day the Bitcoin law took effect on Tuesday, but has been unable to use it since.
Mistrust of Bitcoin
On Wednesday, Bukele stepped in to oversee the tumultuous launch of the payments software that supports El Salvador’s adoption of Bitcoin as legal cash.
Chivo, which promises commission-free transactions and which his government intends to be adopted by the unbanked, has been disconnected multiple times due to technical difficulties.
Bukele’s administration hopes that 2.5 million Salvadorans, or 39% of the country’s population, will download Chivo, which is called after a local term for “good.” He claims that using Bitcoin will save Salvadorans $400 million (€338.5 million) in remittance commissions per year.
However, many of the people who send or receive dollars in El Salvador are skeptical of Bitcoin. Because of the cryptocurrency’s significant volatility, several people are concerned about losing money. According to Refinitiv data,
Bitcoin has witnessed daily trading swings of 10% or more ten times this year, as well as in 2020 and 2019. In both 2018 and 2017, there were 17 days in each year when the market moved by 10% or more.