In just over a month since Bitcoin became legal tender in El Salvador, nearly twice as many Salvadorans own a Chivo wallet from a bank account.
In his latest post about Chivo’s popularity on October 3rd, President Bukele They said 3 million Salvadorans use the wallet; This equates to 46% of the population.
By comparison, 2017 data shows that 29% of Salvadorans have a bank account. Ironically, that percentage is down from 35% in 2014, according to Statista.
At this early stage, this may indicate that the Bitcoin trial in El Salvador is on the right track. However, given the public’s opposition to it, people question President Bukele’s motives in continuing to move forward with it.
Are people for or against bitcoin?
Despite international outcry and public outcry, President Bukele has remained steadfast in his support for bitcoin.
Salvadorans who oppose the idea say that bitcoin prefers speculators with good resources. But in terms of its use as a currency, they assert that high volatility means a loss every day.
Additionally, critics draw attention to the privacy implications of using Chivo. They have raised concerns that the wallet requires users to consent to a microphone and access to contacts.
With some polls indicating that two-thirds of Salvadorans oppose the bitcoin law, economist Ricardo Castaneda summed up the situation by saying that people cannot gauge President Bukele’s motivation to continue down this path despite the opposition.
“Bitcoin may be a distraction but given the decision to go ahead with the plan despite popular opposition and expert advice, it could also be an important pillar of the Bukele political project.”
However, regardless of the narrative, some evidence suggests that Salvadorans are embracing the change.
Last week, President Bukele chirp That Chivo wallet users trade Bitcoin and hold BTC in a ratio of 4:1.
“Since yesterday, Salvadorans are adding more cash (for purchase # bitcoin) from what they withdraw from Tweet embed ATM machines. And if we add remittances (nearly $2 million per day), the amount received in US dollars doubles the outflow.”
Can we trust the numbers?
Though, while more people have used the Chivo wallet than those with bank accounts, given the $30 incentive to download it, is it fair to say that Bitcoin is more popular than the US dollar?
In other words, if local banks had a $30 incentive to open a bank account, would we see a similar rise in the number of people opening bank accounts?
In addition, local news agencies have reported cases of identity fraud related to the Chivo wallet. El Mundo says some Salvadorans tried to download Chivo only to find out that their details had already been logged and claimed the $30 reward.
Not only does this make a mockery of Chivo’s security, but it also signals an over-eating of the wallet.
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