El Salvador's official bitcoin wallet will go live on September 7, says Bukele

El Salvador's government-supported wallet will go live at the start of next month, according to the country's president.

President Nayib Bukele tweeted Sunday that the Chivo wallet will be available for download on Sept. 7. Utilizing the digital wallet is optional, but those who download it will receive $30 in bitcoin during the setup process.

In his tweet thread announcement, Bukele reiterated multiple times that any use fo the Chivo wallet is optional. Citizens won't have to engage in digital commerce, but for those who are interested, the wallets will enable payments in bitcoin or dollars between individuals and businesses regardless of where they are in the world. Those without citizenship may have access as well, since Bukele said tourist workers will be able receive tips in bitcoin through El Salvador's digital wallet infrastructure. 


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The Chivo wallet will have a function that allows citizens to automatically convert bitcoin transactions into dollars. Users can also retain their bitcoin and later withdraw it in cash at 200 of El Salvador's ATMs. The "Cajeros Chivo" will act as withdrawal kiosks. There will also be 50 so-called "Puntos Chivos," which enable deposits and withdrawals, as well as acting as centers for troubleshooting and cryptocurrency education as it relates to the wallet infrastructure. 

The launch of the Chivo wallet will coincide with when El Salvador's bitcoin law is slated to take effect. The country's legislature passed a bill in June of this year recognizing bitcoin as legal tender. With Bukele's signature inked on the law, the country had to wait another 90 days after its publication in the Official Gazette, or Sept. 7. At that time, the Chivo Wallet app will be available in app stores, according to Bukele. 

Though El Salvador's bitcoin bid has stirred excitement in crypto communities, some are still skeptical. The World Bank rejected El Salvador's request for help with the implementation of the crypto as legal tender, and Bukele's announcement sought to dispel any connection of crypto with the world of money laundering and illicit finance. 

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About Author

Aislinn Keely is a reporter on The Block's policy team holding down the legal beat. She covers court decisions, bankruptcies, regulatory actions and other key moments in the legal sphere, putting them in context for the wider crypto industry. Before The Block, she lent her voice to the NPR affiliate WFUV and helmed Fordham University's student newspaper. Send tips or thoughts on all things policy and legal to [email protected] or follow her on Twitter for updates @AislinnKeely.