SAN SALVADOR (AP) — One week after El Salvador became the first country to make bitcoin legal tender, problems continued to plague the system on Tuesday.
El Salvador rolled out a digital wallet known as the ‘Chivo’ on September 8, but the system has often been down for maintenance. It may have been overloaded by the sheer number of Salvadorans looking to take advantage of the USD30 bonus that the government put in each account to incentivise adoption.
Even users like street vendor César Estrada, who were able to download the wallet, have been unable to access the bitcoins.
“After several attempts I managed to download the Chivo wallet, but I haven’t been able to use the USD30,” said Estrada.
The problems aren’t limited to technical glitches. One of the young workers at the Chivo automatic teller machines set up to handle transactions acknowledged as much.
The problems continue, but there has also been a lot of false information,” said the worker, who would identify himself only as Steven,
“People are saying that if someone downloads the app, the government can spy on them, or even empty their bank accounts,” he said in disbelief. “So many things have been said that it gets into people’s heads, and added to that is that first, the system collapsed and the errors have continued.”
President Nayib Bukele, the main promotor of using the cryptocurrency, acknowledged the government’s three-month rollout may have been too ambitious. He said technical glitches had prevented the app from working some kinds of phones.
“We set ourselves a goal that was too ambitious and we made mistakes,” Bukele wrote in his Twitter account. “But we correcting things, and hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans can now use their @chivowallet with no problem. Soon, everyone who wants to can also enjoy the benefits