With only a little political goodwill, the adoption of Bitcoin (BTC) can happen at full speed. Since El Salvador made BTC a legal tender on September 7, 2021, this is an absolute example, as in just 20 days, 33% of the country’s population is already using a Bitcoin wallet.
Chivo: the biggest “bank” in El Salvador?
When Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele announced in early June 2021 that he would make Bitcoin a national currency, on par with the US dollar, the intense enthusiasm in the crypto community was matched only by the fear and hostility of financial institutions (led by the IMF).
However, despite the relentlessness of the latter, the government of El Salvador has stood its ground, and no one will be able to say anymore that it is an incredible success.
As President Nayib Bukele proudly announces, very exactly 18 days after the Ley Bitcoin went into effect, a very large portion of the population of the Central American country of 6.4 million has adopted the official Bitcoin wallet, Chivo :
“2.1 million Salvadorans are ACTIVELY using the Chivo wallet (…) Chivo is not a bank, but in less than 3 weeks, it now has more users than any bank in El Salvador, and it is rapidly progressing to have more users than ALL THE BANKS IN SALVADOR combined.”
More countries ready to switch to Bitcoin?
Based on the Lightning Network, the Chivo wallet allows individuals and businesses to send and receive payments in bitcoins from anywhere in the world, almost instantly and for free.
Although a few violent protesters have gone so far as to vandalize and burn down one of the 200 Chivo ATMs, a third of the population has taken the step of trying Bitcoin and adopting it, since they are “active” users, according to President Bukele. The $30 in BTC offered to every citizen who downloads Chivo must also have contributed to this success.
Many other countries in Latin America and elsewhere will now be thinking even more strongly about following El Salvador’s lead in the real ease of Bitcoin adoption. People in Panama, Honduras or even a large territory, such as Brazil, are increasingly serious about seeing the king of cryptocurrencies become part of their country’s economy.
In the meantime, the Salvadoran government is continuing its Bitcoin adoption project, and taking advantage of every drop in the BTC price to buy more. Indeed, at the time of the September 7 and 20 price drops, President Bukele announced that El Salvador’s Treasury had “bought the dip” with the purchase of 150 BTC each time, bringing the country’s cryptocurrency reserves to 700 BTC.