El Salvador Begins Installing Crypto ATMs Ahead Of Bitcoin Rollout


Ahead of its cryptocurrency wallet launch in September, El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele has announced plans to install 200 Bitcoin Automated Teller Machines (ATM).

In a post on Twitter, the president disclosed that the crypto ATMs would accompany the country’s digital wallet called Chivo.

Use Of Bitcoin Will Not Be Mandatory

While announcing plans to install ATMs for citizens to convert their Bitcoin to US Dollars, Bukele also affirmed that using the cryptocurrency won't be mandatory for citizens. Bukele wrote,

“If someone wants to continue to carry cash, not receive a sign-on bonus, not win over customers who have Bitcoin, not grow their business and pay commission on remittances, they can continue to do so.”

Bukele's statements are similar to the recent comments from El Salvador's finance minister, Alejandro Zelaya. During an interview last week, Zelaya said the use of Bitcoin would be optional, and businesses that do not accept the asset will not be sanctioned.

Speaking on the upcoming date for the Bitcoin adoption, Bukele said from September 7, citizens and tourists will be able to download the Chivo application to receive payments or gifts in Bitcoin or US dollars.

Once it launches, the Chivo digital wallet would allow Salvadorans to accept Bitcoin, open a small business, and send Bitcoin without fees.

According to Bukele, citizens can receive Bitcoin and either leave it in the digital wallet or convert it into US dollars and withdraw cash at any of the ATMs available in the country.

He added that there would be 50 branches to withdraw or deposit money.

On remittances, Bukele wrote that with Bitcoin, Salvadorans abroad would be able to send money instantly to their family in the country instead of going through Western Union and paying commission. Adopting Bitcoin will save Salvadorans $400 million per year in fees for receiving remittances from abroad.

When El Salvador's Bitcoin law finally takes effect, Salvadorans who download the Chivo digital wallet app will receive $30 in Bitcoin for free.

El Salvador's Bitcoin Adoption Law

In June, Bukele announced El Salvador's intention to become the first to accept Bitcoin as a legal tender alongside the US dollar. The bill was then passed by the country's legislature leading to both praise and backlash.

Citizens have protested and questioned the decision due to Bitcoin's intense volatility. However, this has not deterred Bukele from going ahead with Bitcoin adoption plans.

Although the bill had been approved since June, the law stipulates 90 days to become effective. The law would take effect by September, and the Chivo Wallet app will be available in app stores.

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