No Chivo Wallet Downloads in El Salvador This Year, Study Shows

EL SA2.jpgEl Salvador is the first country in the world to accept Bitcoin (BTC) as a legal tender back in September 2021.

While the President, Nayib Bukele gained popularity through the publishing of sterling data about the adoption of the cryptocurrency from September through the end of the Fourth Quarter, a new study shows the enthusiasm for the crypto adoption in El Salvador does not as promising as painted.

Shocking Reveals of the Study on El Salvador

The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), sponsors of the research claimed there have been virtually no Chivo wallets downloads this year. The Bureau noted that the downloads of the wallet were done primarily in order to gain access to the $30 incentive offered by the government.

Per the study, access to the Chivo wallet was not widespread as only citizens with access to mobile phones and the internet, of which almost 90% of the respondents deemed to use no mobile banking. The study revealed that September accounts for exactly 40% of all downloads.

“Most downloads took place just as Chivo was launched. In fact, 40% of all downloads happened in September 2021, and virtually no downloads have taken place in 2022. The main driver of adoption is reported to be the $30 bonus offered by the government, equivalent to 0.7% of annual income per capita,” the report highlights.

At the time when the country announced Bitcoin is a legal tender, many citizens took to the streets in riots, as they criticize their president as a dictator. The protests recorded in the initial period played out over time as many refused to download the Chivo wallet at all owing to distrust for the regime and their data, the NBER study corroborates.

More Rocky Headwinds?

There are numerous Bitcoin-linked plans that have been set out by El Salvador as unveiled by President Bukele. While most of the plans, including the scheduled Bitcoin bonds that are expected to be issued as well as the planned construction of a Bitcoin City, have still not been achieved.

Despite the broad support of the crypto community, the question is whether El Salvador is on the right track with its Bitcoin as a legal tender pursuit in the first place.

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El Salvador Chivo Bitcoin Wallet Relaunch To Serve 4 Million Users

El Salvador, a country that has become infamous for being the first sovereign nation to accept bitcoin as a legal tender, continues its journey through uncharted waters. To make this move a reality, the country had launched its own government-approved bitcoin wallet, Chivo for carrying out crypto transactions in the country. Encouraging residents to accept the wallet by offering a $30 bonus on sign-up.

“Bitcoin Day” has since come and gone since then and El Salvadoran citizens are settling into using the cryptocurrency as a legal tender alongside the US dollar. However, there have been some kinks to work out with the bitcoin wallet, and one of those kinks being the ability to function properly for all of the residents of the country has led to the relaunch of the Chivo wallet.

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Chivo Wallet Relaunch

Since Chivo first launched last year, it has quickly grown in the number of active users. It eventually grew to 2.1 million users, a milestone that was celebrated by the president. However, this had started to present problems with stability and scalability. As with any good wallet, the Chivo wallet has to be able to expand to accommodate a large number of users, giving rise to the relaunch.

This new version of the app will allow more users to be able to access and use it seamlessly. It will eliminate the stability issues that arose with the first version. Thus making it a better fit for the expected more than 4 million users that will be using bitcoin as legal tender in the country. Users have been experiencing issues like missing funds, system issues, fradulent transfers, etc, which will be handled with the relaunch.

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The El Salvadorian government is said to have partnered with AlphaPoint, a white label infrastructure provider that will work on making sure the Chivo wallet is always running and stable, as well as handling issues regarding scalability and social impact. This relaunch will solve a variety of existing issues, as well as add new features to provide a better user experience.

“El Salvador and President Bukele are truly leading globally with this first major experiment in Bitcoin adoption at a country-wide level. We are honored to be involved in the process and provide the scalable and reliable solutions needed for this massive undertaking,” said Igor Telyantnikov, CEO/Founder of AlphaPoint.

El Salvador To Install 1,500 Bitcoin ATMs

In addition to the Chivo app relaunch, El Salvador has announced that it plans to deploy more ATMs to make bitcoin accessible to residents. The acceptance of bitcoin as legal tender had come with the installation of multiple bitcoin ATMs around the country to enable easy and swift payments. But the country is taking another step towards securing its title as bitcoin capital of the world.

Bitcoin price chart from

BTC at $36K | Source: BTCUSD on

El Salvador will add another 1,500 Bitcoin ATMs around the country, to be deployed in different locations. The country is putting these ATMs in place “to more readily serve the population of El Salvador, the statement read.

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El Salvador Relaunches Chivo Wallet and Plans to Roll Out 1,500 BTC ATMs Nationwide

El Salvador relaunches the Chivo Wallet, which promises to enable instant low-fee Bitcoin transactions by integrating with white-label infrastructure provider AlphaPoint while addressing issues related to stability and scalability.

In June, El Salvador became the first country in the world to adopt bitcoin as legal tender after Congress approved President Nayib Bukele’s proposal to embrace cryptocurrency.

As many as 2.1 million users are now actively using the Chivo wallet, the government’s official wallet dedicated to carrying out Bitcoin-related transactions.

In October last year, El Salvador’s digital Bitcoin wallet Chivo removed a pricing feature that allowed users to make quick profits on trades.

This integration with AlphaPoint will expand the reach of the Chivo Wallet to other everyday transactions, such as simplifying payments for home utilities, taxes, and many other everyday Bitcoin transactions.

The official statement also stated that 1,500 Bitcoin ATMs will be deployed nationwide in El Salvador in order to more easily serve the population of El Salvador. “

The latest AlphaPoint integration will expand support for point-of-sale systems, websites, and the El Salvador government management console. Additionally, the update will help Chivo Wallet enable near-instant low-fee Bitcoin transactions via QR and Lightning addresses.

AlphaPoint CEO and co-founder Igor Telyatnikov said:

“El Salvador and President Bukele are truly leading globally with this first major experiment in Bitcoin adoption at a country-wide level. We are honored to be involved in the process and provide the scalable and reliable solutions needed for this massive undertaking.”

Last month, the digital currency ecosystem slipped to unprecedented lower levels when Bitcoin (BTC) dipped to its lowest level in 5 months to a price below $39,000.

El Salvador, whose president, Nayib Bukele, announced the administration had acquired another 410 Bitcoins for just $15 million.

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El Salvador removes BTC price feed from Chivo app to crack down on arbitrage scalpers

The Salvadoran government has moved to prevent users of its Chivo digital wallet from gaming the app’s price freeze feature to glean risk-free profits through arbitrage.

On Tuesday, Chivo’s Twitter account announced that wallet users will be unable to see the reference price provided for trades executed using the price freeze feature — which allows traders to retain the Bitcoin (BTC) price quoted by the app for up to one minute.

Chivo tweeted that opportunistic traders have been using the price freeze feature to scalp for arbitrage across other cryptocurrency trading platforms globally during periods of significant price volatility for Bitcoin. The frozen price feature gave traders an opportunity to take advantage of price gaps in other exchange rates while quickly using the Lightning Network to move assets, Chivo explained.

“The ‘scalping’ carried out consisted of taking advantage of the fact that Chivo kept the rate frozen for 1 minute and taking advantage of that minute to compare the rate with other exchanges and see if the price of Bitcoin went down or up.”

Despite high-frequency scalping comprising a legal form of trading, Chivo describes traders who used Chivo’s frozen prices to arbitrage against real-time exchanges as being extracting potentially “endless” profits through “fraud.”

Looking forward, Chivo plans to remove the price feature and offer real-time price references for Bitcoin traders using its app.

Related: El Salvador ranks third in global Bitcoin ATM installations, data finds

On Sept. 7, El Salvador enacted its controversial Bitcoin Law recognizing BTC as legal tender nationwide.

Despite critics highlighting the low rates of digital and blockchain literacy among Salvadorans in the run-up to the law taking effect, the legislation appears to have fostered widespread Bitcoin adoption across the country.

Salvadorans now appear to be exchanging their United States dollar savings for BTC at an accelerating pace, with President Nayib Bukele sharing that Chivo had recorded 24,076 remittance requests worth more than $3 million on Thursday.

On Oct. 10, the Salvadoran government also announced its plans to invest part of the $4 million worth of profits from Chivo’s Bitcoin trust to construct a new veterinary hospital in the local capital of San Salvador.