El Salvador’s government has started installing Bitcoin ATMs to allow citizens to convert the crypto into US dollars and withdraw it in cash.
El Salvador President Nayib Bukele stated that his government plans to install the first 200 Bitcoin ATMs to accompany its digital wallet called “Chivo”. The president also announced that there would be 50 financial branches across the nation for withdrawing or depositing money.
However, president Bukele stated that the use of Bitcoin as legal tender would not be mandatory.
Bukele talked about the use of Bitcoin digital wallet, stating that citizens will be able to accept payment in Bitcoin or dollars, download a digital wallet called “Chivo” and manage the cryptocurrency from there, or converted it into cash at one of the 200 ATMs that will be available in the country.
Bukele also announced that such Bitcoin transactions would be commission-free, stating that El Salvador residents will receive money from friends or family and send and receive remittances through Bitcoin without paying a single cent of commission to anyone.
He stated that his government would not force any of the country’s citizens to receive Bitcoin as a payment method.
“If they want to. If they don’t, don’t download anything, and that’s it,” President Bukele.
Bukele further mentioned that Salvadorans abroad would use Bitcoin to send money instantly to family members living in the country – they can send Bitcoin or send dollars if they want. The adoption of Bitcoin will save local citizens $400 million per year in fees for receiving remittances from abroad, President Bukele added.
Last week, Finance minister Alejandro Zelaya stated in a local TV interview that the use of Bitcoin and digital wallets in El Salvador would be “totally optional,” and businesses that do not accept the cryptocurrency will not be penalised.
Furthermore, the finance minister said that El Salvador’s Bitcoin law would take effect on September 7. Citizens will be able to download the government’s Chivo digital wallet, enter their ID number and receive a bonus worth $30 in Bitcoin.
Developing Nations Could Follow El Salvador
El Salvador lawmakers passed the bill in June this year, recognising Bitcoin as legal tender. President Bukele signed the law afterwards, and the nation had to wait for another 90 days for the law to be fully enacted in the country’s Official Gazette by September 7. Bukele said that the Chivo wallet app would be available in app stores by September 7 as well.
El Salvador made a historic and unprecedented move that spurred excitement in the cryptocurrency communities and caused scepticism for some stakeholders. The World Bank rejected El Salvador’s request for assistance with the implementation of Bitcoin as legal tender. The IMF (International Monetary Fund) also warned El Salvador against using Bitcoin as legal tender.
Following El Salvador’s move to make the cryptocurrency legal tender, politicians in Panama, Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina took social media to endorse the decision.
Image source: Shutterstock