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This article was published on September 8, 2021

A short timeline of El Salvador’s Bitcoin adoption shit show

Not a dream start

A short timeline of El Salvador’s Bitcoin adoption shit show
Ivan Mehta
Story by

Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

On Tuesday, El Salvador became the first country in the world to officially adopt Bitcoin as a legal tender. But the much-touted rollout didn’t go as expected, and faced plenty of obstacles and snags.

. Here’s a quick recap of what happened:

  • President Nayib Bukele started building up the hype on Twitter, as the country announced Bitcoin as a legal tender on September 7.
  • The country bought 200 Bitcoin, making it’s holding a total of 400 Bitcoin.
  • To promote the app, and adoption of the cryptocurrency, Bukele promised each user $30 worth of Bitcoin. 
  • While the hype was building up, the country’s official Bitcoin wallet app, Chivo Wallet, wasn’t available on Apple, Google, and Huawei’s app stores.
  • When the app became available on the Huawei store, it couldn’t handle the number of users registering simultaneously. So the government had to unplug its servers for a while to increase handling capacity.
  • A bunch of users later tweeted about being able to pay with the cryptocurrency at outlets such as McDonald’s and Starbucks.
  • While the celebratory chest-thumping was going on, people were protesting in the Supreme Court premises. Their point was that the cryptocurrency might not be useful for folks like bus drivers and shopkeepers.
  • By the end of the day, Bitcoin‘s value had tumbled by more than 10%.

El Salvador‘s Bitcoin adoption program didn’t start the way the country intended it to. However, Bukele noted that “Like all innovations, El Salvador‘s bitcoin process has a learning curve. Not everything will be achieved in a day, or in a month.” 

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