Bitcoin (BTC) is set to be adopted as legal tender in El Salvador in a matter of several weeks, and the government is forging ahead with building the infrastructure it feels needs to be in place beforehand – including a much-vaunted app that will function as a payments platform and a BTC wallet.
Per ElSalvador.com, the website of the El Diario de Hoy newspaper, Alejandro Zelaya, the Salvadoran Minister of Finance, has announced that the Chivo crypto app will, in fact, have two versions: one for businesses, and the other for private citizens.
The government has already promised to promote the app by offering early users USD 30 worth of BTC, although Zelaya has insisted that the funds are not to be converted into fiat. The government also said it plans to open hundreds of Chivo brick-and-mortar outlets across the nation, providing crypto-to-fiat conversions and other adoption-related services.
But Zelaya confirmed that both versions of the new app would be ready for download by September 7 and reiterated that the Chivo app ecosystem would be “totally free” to use and would also be “commission-free.”
He explained that two versions of the app were needed as “the cash flow that most people have as a private citizen is not the same as that of a company.”
The government is thought to be working with the Lightning Network-focused American firm Strike on the app.
However, as reported, not all in El Salvador, a country with a population of 6.5m people, are as keen as the government to embrace BTC. A petition to reverse the new BTC law is gaining support. It was launched two days ago on Change.org and has almost 5,000 signatories at the time of writing. ElSalvador.com reported that two former presidents of the nation’s Central Reserve Bank, Nicolás Martínez and Oscar Cabrera have signed the petition, which calls for the law to be “repealed.”
A number of “lawyers and economists” have also pledged their support, the media outlet added, including Ricardo Castaneda, a senior economist at the Central American Institute for Fiscal Studies.
Meanwhile, Steve Hanke, an American applied economist at the Johns Hopkins University, BTC skeptic, and an outspoken critic of the El Salvador Bitcoin law, quoted data from a survey by the Salvadorian Chamber of Commerce, claiming that “three out of every four citizens will exclusively use dollars, even if the government tries to force bitcoin down its throat.”
#EconWatch: A survey by #ElSalvador’s Chamber of Commerce shows that 3 out of every 4 citizens will exclusively use… https://t.co/HDmlT0a2LP
The survey saw both business professionals and “non-entrepreneurs” quizzed on their BTC intentions, with only 1% of each group saying they would use “only bitcoin” after the law promulgated, with 21% of businesspeople stating they would use both USD and BTC and a quarter of non-business professionals saying they would mix up their fiat and crypto usage.
Currently, bitcoin usership is the nation is largely centered on a small beach community in the village of El Zonte, supported by the Bitcoin Beach project.
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