Protesters in El Salvador Torch Bitcoin ATM in Push Against Crypto Rollout

A Bitcoin (BTC) ATM was destroyed by vandals in El Salvador yesterday.

The freestanding outdoor structure in the capital city of San Salvador had its windows smashed before being set on fire.

Thousands of people had taken to the streets in a wide-ranging protest against the policies of President Nayib Bukele.

One protester named Adriana Montenegro expressed the overall sense of frustration that many citizens have regarding their government.

“They promised to do things differently, and they’ve been worse. We are [out protesting] in the midst of the pandemic because this dictatorship is deadlier than the virus.”

In an interview with Democracy Now, Dartmouth College assistant professor Jorge Cuéllar says that the Salvadoran government has misplaced priorities.

“There’s no reason why Bitcoin should be at the top of the government’s agenda [during a time] of the pandemic, of water stress, of food insecurity, of depressed wages.”

Noting that 25% of El Salvador’s gross domestic product (GPD) is foreign inflows of capital from citizens living abroad, Cuéllar discusses the government’s main selling point for adopting Bitcoin.

“The big sell… around Bitcoin has been that it will lessen remittance fees into the country. So one of [the president’s] arguments for Bitcoin has been to lessen those commissions that entities like Western Union and MoneyGram take on every remittance sent into the country.”

El Salvador became the first country in the world to adopt BTC as legal tender on September 7th. In addition to public protests against the new law, technical difficulties have marred the Chivo cryptocurrency wallet’s rollout.

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Anti-Government Protest Outbreak in El Salvador, Bitcoin ATM Burned in its Capital

Over thousand protestors marched in the capital of El Salvador Wednesday, while some Bitcoin ATMs reportedly were destroyed against the adoption of Bitcoin as fiat money.

Just more than a week after the national adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender in El Salvador, this Central American nation is challenged by the latest round of massive protest against the controversial “bitcoinization” economy by the government of President Nayib Bukele.

Protestors were marching to the central plaza in San Salvador, the capital of the country. Associated Press reported Wednesday that some protestors wore T-shirts with signs of “No to Bitcoin”. At least one Bitcoin ATM was set fire to burn and destroyed, according to Bloomberg reported. Around 200 Bitcoin ATMs has been installed across the country so far.

The adoption of Bitcoin also triggered marchers in a fury to other disappointing political issues, such as over-concentrated power for the presidency and the undermined independence of justice as President Bukele may seek for re-election, who mandated by the local supreme court recently.

In response to the latest chaos, President Bukele responded on Twitter in Spanish and challenged that why “they say the ‘vandalism’ was the work of ‘infiltrators,’ but there has been vandalism in ALL their demonstrations. And why weren’t there any shouts of ‘stop,’ or ‘Don’t do that?’”

However, the opposition party criticised that “Bitcoin as a big economic decision, (but) it was done totally illogically,” as high cost of living and unemployment still not settle, the opposition party added.  

El Salvador officially adopted Bitcoin as legal tender last Tuesday, drawing the attention worldwide. More food and beverage enterprise, such as McDonald, Starbucks and Pizza Hut now accepts Bitcoin for the bill as payment.

Yet, a recent poll showed that the majority of Salvadorans still objected to Bitcoin’s implementation as the legal tender. Scepticism is still widespread across the country, while President Despite the major money transfer providers may lose their business under the new monetary policy, Bukele calmed that Bitcoin would improve the domestic economy by saving $400 million a year in fees for transactions on overseas remittances.

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Anti-Government Protest Outbreaks in El Salvador, Bitcoin ATM Burned in its Capital

Over thousand protestors marched in the capital of El Salvador Wednesday, while some Bitcoin ATMs reportedly were destroyed against the adoption of Bitcoin as fiat money.

Just more than a week after the national adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender in El Salvador, this Central American nation is challenged by the latest round of massive protest against the controversial “bitcoinization” economy by the government of President Nayib Bukele.

Protestors were marching to the central plaza in San Salvador, the capital of the country. Associated Press reported Wednesday that some protestors wore T-shirts with signs of “No to Bitcoin”. At least one Bitcoin ATM was set fire to burn and destroyed, according to Bloomberg reported. Around 200 Bitcoin ATMs has been installed across the country so far.

The adoption of Bitcoin also triggered marchers in a fury to other disappointing political issues, such as over-concentrated power for the presidency and the undermined independence of justice as President Bukele may seek for re-election, who mandated by the local supreme court recently.

In response to the latest chaos, President Bukele responded on Twitter in Spanish and challenged that why “they say the ‘vandalism’ was the work of ‘infiltrators,’ but there has been vandalism in ALL their demonstrations. And why weren’t there any shouts of ‘stop,’ or ‘Don’t do that?’”

However, the opposition party criticised that “Bitcoin as a big economic decision, (but) it was done totally illogically,” as high cost of living and unemployment still not settle, the opposition party added.  

El Salvador officially adopted Bitcoin as legal tender last Tuesday, drawing the attention worldwide. More food and beverage enterprise, such as McDonald, Starbucks and Pizza Hut now accepts Bitcoin for the bill as payment.

Yet, a recent poll showed that the majority of Salvadorans still objected to Bitcoin’s implementation as the legal tender. Scepticism is still widespread across the country, while President Bukele calmed that Bitcoin would improve the domestic economy by saving $400 million a year in fees for transactions on overseas remittances, although the major money transfer providers may lose their business under the new monetary policy. 

Image source: Shutterstock

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Rebel Group of Locked Account Holders Complain of “Binance Hell”

Key Takeaways

  • Binance users have banded together to try and get their accounts unlocked, many of which have been frozen since last year.
  • Many users have had tens of thousands of dollars locked in frozen accounts with little to no recourse from the support system.
  • Customer experiences include dead-end conversations with automated bots and a blunt Reddit moderator who is the focus of dozens of complaints.




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A group of concerned Binance users has contacted Crypto Briefing with a document containing dozens of unresolved support tickets, a closed loop of customer service bots to navigate, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in user funds locked on the exchange.

#BinanceHell Hashtag Trends Among Users

One Redditor caught trapped in “Binance Hell,” Cryp-to-Bountiful, told Crypto Briefing that they have $45,000 in locked funds and no resolution in sight.

“I understand that U.S. citizens are not allowed to trade on Binance.com. However, I am not allowed to transfer my assets out. I can’t even see my account. There is no option for U.S. citizens to set up [two-factor authentication]. No working chat. No phones.”

Another Reddit user, Ambitious_Resident74, claims to have $300,000 in locked funds, with the only communication from Binance citing “withdrawals suspended due to risk management.”

“Same issue as others, mine was a $350 chargeback. I sent the video of myself proving I have control of the account and I’m fully verified on there,” said u/Ambitious_Resident74, adding that they could deposit funds but not withdraw. “This is criminal and has set me back in life severely.”

Other users have confirmed that they are experiencing issues with two-factor authentication (2FA) or that their attempts to reset 2FA have gone on for months. In some cases, the issues persist long after 2FA security measures have been reset entirely.

Even the on-site “send” button allowing users to transfer funds is reportedly grayed out and disabled.

“I had a chargeback due to a bank error,” complains one user. “Always been in good standing. Wired the money to Binance right away and they posted it to my account. Since then, they disabled all trading and withdrawing from my account. There is no phone number,  just support tickets.”

It’s an open secret that U.S. customers have used VPNs to get around restrictions prohibiting them from using the main Binance website. This, according to at least one Binance employee, is likely the common point between all users.

In a Reddit thread, a moderator and Binance representative symbiotic_bnb insisted that Binance U.S. users can still withdraw funds unless they’ve done “something stupid, like use a VPN to bypass restrictions.”


The CFTC is investigating Binance to see if the exchange has been facilitating illegal transactions, and this investigation may also play a role in the current situation with Binance customers.


Frustrating Binance Support Experiences

The Binance representative symbiotic_bnb is well-known among this community of disgruntled users.  They were painted as unhelpful and avoidant in the document shared with Crypto Briefing, with users pointing out the Binance representative’s unprofessional language and actions on several occasions.

Threads on Reddit also complain of the moderator who is often seen insulting or mocking users in support threads.

symbiotic_bnb has accused users that have been petitioning for help of being malicious actors and “whining” about the loss of access to their funds, stating that Binance staff are not “incompetent morons.”


With a serious backlog of unresolved cases and frustrating experiences dealing with support, users were forced to begin organizing as a group.

For some, the issue has been ongoing since last year.

Another user stated that customer service had asked them to perform tasks that the website didn’t support.

“Customer support is also asking me to do impossible things which the binance website doesn’t support, such as uploading pdf files in the chat function, when the chat does not support such files. I was also asked to make a bank transfer appeal by customer support, I did this and I got an email response saying the appeal was rejected due to ‘risk control.’”

Their experience with customer support included blank messages from Binance’s chatbot and an appeal system that directed them to open a ticket with customer service, leaving them with $40,000 in trapped funds for over two months.



This lengthy appeal to unlock $40,000 ended with a blank message from a seemingly malfunctioning support bot.

It’s worth noting that many of the cases listed in Crypto Briefing’s documents deal with users from outside the U.S., such as from Finland and Australia.

In fact, a user named Alice, one of the organizers behind the effort to unlock user accounts, told Crypto Briefing that the situation was even worse for international users.

“Seems the U.S. customers are doing better as they can report to official agencies, unlike the rest of us using .com,” the organizer said, adding that “Customer service ‘agents’ are likely 80% bots. My personal experience has been horrendous, but it is nothing comparing to some who have been stuck since December.”


Binance users have even discussed an in-person protest to have their accounts unlocked, with frustration mounting as the situation continues to unfold.

In an initial email to Binance.com regarding the locked accounts, Crypto Briefing was told to speak with the communications team at Binance.US. This team has yet to respond at time of press.

Disclosure: The author held BTC and ETH at the time of writing.

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Russia’s Detained Opposition Leader Alexei Navalny receives $120,000 in Bitcoin Donations as Protests Rage in Moscow

Russian’s are using Bitcoin to support detained political opposition leader Alexei Navalny who was recently arrested at Moscow airport on Jan. 17 under the guise of a 2014 conviction.

Russia’s Detained Opposition Leader Alexei Navalny receives $120,000 in Bitcoin Donations as Protests Rage in Moscow

Since the arrest of Navalny, over 40,000 Russians flooded the streets of Moscow to demand Vladimir Putin’s staunchest political opponent be released over the weekend. Further to the protest—a Bitcoin address associated with Navalny’s political party has received $120,000 in support via BTC.

Russia Shows Support Through Bitcoin

Alexei Navalny is a lawyer turned activist who began criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin in the 2000s. He announced his presidential candidacy in 2016.

On Jan. 17, Russian police in Moscow arrested opposition leader Navalny at the Moscow airport after he had landed from an inbound flight from Berlin. Russian Officials are adamant that the arrest has to do with a 2014 conviction.

According to Reuters, Europe’s top human rights court ruled that Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s conviction for fraud in 2014 had been “arbitrary and manifestly unreasonable” and ordered Russia to pay him compensation. For all intents and purposes—Russian officials now hold Navalny for a crime he has already been acquitted after proving with high certainty that the money laundering charges had been fabricated.

Upon his arrest on Jan. 17, Navalny called for a nation-wide protest and Russian citizens complied in the face of the authoritarian regime, with thousands of protestors pouring in to the nation’s capital. Vladimir Putin has since called the protests both illegal and dangerous. As reported by the BBC, more than 3000 protestors were arrested in Moscow throughout the course of the protest.

Navalny leads the political party ‘Foundation for Combating Corruption (FBK)’ which is a not for profit organization. The group’s “headquarter” website, as linked on FBK’s homepage, does accept donations via wire transfer, PayPal, and Bitcoin.

Since the arrest, the party’s Bitcoin address has received over $120,000 in donations of support—or around 3.5 BTC. In the party’s lifetime, since the addition of the BTC donation option, Russian’s have donate a total of 657.1 BTC which equates to over $21 million to Putin’s opponent and the donations continue to arrive at the address.

Leveraging Bitcoin is nothing new in public protests and organized mass operations—reports of Hong Kong protestors receiving Bitcoin donations circulated during the 2019 protest against China’s national security law, and recently it has been reported that BTC donations were made to finance the U.S. Capitol riots.

Navalny and Democracy Under Attack

Since his announcement to run for President in 2016, Navalny has faced severe criticism from the government, particularly for his scathing reports against current President Vladimir Putin.

Navalny has been jailed on account of the reportedly illegitimate charges of 2014 and has been poisoned on several occasions, with the most recent attempt made in August, which sent him into a coma. Exiting President Trump was heavily criticized for appearing to turn a blind eye to the signs of political repression occurring in Russia.

Navalny has since found support from newly confirmed President Joe Biden’s administration, asking for his release.

“We call on Russian authorities to release all those detained for exercising their universal rights and for the immediate and unconditional release of Alexei Navalny,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Monday, echoing a statement from the State Department from over the weekend.

Ms Psaki also reiterated calls for Russia to “cooperate” with the international investigation into Mr Navalny’s poisoning in August 2020 and to “credibly explain” the use of a chemical weapon, Novichok, on one of its own citizens.

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Facebook Blocks President Trump from Its Platform as Protestors Storm Capitol Hill

Following the recent riot where a wave of pro-Trump supporters stormed Capitol Hill, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced that the President will now be blocked from the social media platform.

In light of the presidential election opposing Trump and Biden, a large wave of white American activists and Trump supporters have angrily taken Capitol Hill under siege. US’ Capitol Hill was vandalized and police barricades were breached, as the rioters invaded Washington, preaching their support of Trump.

Following the political violence, Zuckerberg has moved to restrict Trump from using Facebook, as many of his posts have been criticized as a gateway to “incite insurrection against a democratically elected government.”

Trump has previously resorted to social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to express his ideas, as he has said that media outlets were too censored for his liking. Ironically, he has also blasted Facebook and Twitter, saying that Big Tech has conspired to rig the presidential election.

Politicians unhappy with Twitter and Facebook censorship

Previously, Twitter and Facebook were called to testify in front of the US Judiciary Committee, as explanations were demanded of Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook’s Zuckerberg for the way political posts were handled on their platforms during the elections.

The move of the tech giants to censor both Republicans and Democratics had served to infuriate both parties, who called on a reform of Section 230.  This section protects online platform hosts like Facebook and Twitter from being held accountable for content that social media users upload.

Both the Twitter CEO and Facebook’s Zuckerberg were open to the idea of amending Section 230. However, they said that the social media platforms were not to be treated as publishers or as traditional media websites. Both tech moguls stood by their company’s action, with Zuckerberg asserting,We strengthened our enforcement against conspiracy networks and other groups to help prevent them from using our platform to organize violence or civil unrest in the period after the election.”

Is blockchain the answer to misinformation and centralized power?

The congressional hearing comes at a time when US authorities and global legislations have increasingly attempted to curb the monopoly of tech giants, namely the Big Tech – Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Apple. Antitrust hearings have been conducted with US Capitol Hill to address the ways in which Big Tech leveraged their power to thwart competitive companies in the tech industry.

With the rise in power of these tech corporate giants, the question of whether decentralization is the answer has come to light. With blockchain technology, information is regulated by everyone using the chain, and there is no central power. As the concentration of power on distributed ledger technology is technologically impossible, blockchain may provide more security in an environment where the trust in centralized authorities is questioned.

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