A month has passed since El Salvador adopted Bitcoin as the country’s official currency.
“I see Bitcoin as an opportunity for my business, to increase its sales and to give options to my clients to buy. Many people are scared of using this currency. I tell them to inform themselves. I think that over time it will bring in many benefits.”
But despite high hopes, the country’s new legal tender is currently caught up in a technical frenzy.
“The Bitcoin system has had implementation problems, of course, there is distrust about Bitcoin, in the end, here we have dollars and people want to use the dollar, and bitcoin does not bring anything better than the dollarization that already exists.”
El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele said that roughly half of the country’s population, or three million people, have downloaded Chivo, a mobile Bitcoin app.
But it’s this Chivo digital wallet that’s at the root of the technical mishaps that are causing people to lose money during transactions.
Reuters reported that a 32 year old man lost 220 dollars while withdrawing cash from the wallet, while similar irregularities, including identity theft, have also been reported.
The country’s president said that high demand for bitcoin may be behind the issues. The volatile nature of cryptocurrency has also become a real concern.
“The same day that El Salvador implemented bitcoin as a national currency, it fell sharply and then reached 40,000 dollars. It has been recovering, but the Salvadoran people have lost confidence in Bitcoin because the volatility that was being talked about became a reality.”
It seems like not everybody has warmed to the use of Bitcoin.
“We have seen that there are many businesses that are accepting bitcoin, others not. It’s still being tried out but many people are using Bitcoin.”
A survey from Central American University shows that nine out of 10 people surveyed said that they did not have a clear understanding about the digital currency, while eight in 10 didn’t feel confident about its use.
In another poll from the Salvadoran Foundation for Economic and Social Development, 93 percent of the 233 companies answered that they have not yet received a bitcoin payment.
Kim Yeon-seung, Arirang News