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El Salvador’s President says the country has prepared to adopt bitcoin as legal currency in September by installing 200 ATMs and prepping bank branches to handle crypto | Currency News | Financial and Business News

A woman withdraws money from a bitcoin ATM in El Salvador.

El Salvador President Nayib Bukele said his country is gearing up for its cryptocurrency adoption by building infrastructure to support his ambitious goal.

The millennial president announced that El Salvador is installing 200 ATMs and preparing over 50 bank branches ahead of the implementation on September 7, according to a Sunday tweet thread.

This will go hand in hand with the government’s cryptocurrency app called Chivo, which can be viewed as a digital wallet that is accessible to both citizens and tourists. Those who download the app will receive $30 in bitcoin. Chivo, according to previous reports, will allow users to automatically convert bitcoin into US dollars.

Transactions in the app will be commission-free, saving the Central American country $400 million per year in fees, Bukele said in a tweet.

Bukele in June announced the country’s intention to become the first in the world to accept bitcoin as a legal tender alongside the US dollar, drawing both praise and backlash.

Many critics have questioned the decision, pointing to bitcoin’s intense volatility. The cryptocurrency has lost almost 25% of its value since hitting an all-time high of nearly $65,000 in April. It is trading around $49,000 as of August 23.

The president has emphasized that no one will be forced to use bitcoin, which he also reiterated in his Twitter thread.

The legislation, dubbed the Bitcoin Law, has touted financial inclusion and economic growth as reasons for adopting bitcoin, highlighting the 70% of El Salvadorans who are unable to access “traditional financial services.”

Still, international organizations including the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, as well as major banks such as JPMorgan and Bank of America have expressed concern.

A small survey conducted in June by a university in El Salvador also suggested that a majority of citizens don’t understand cryptocurrency and are skeptical of Bukele’s move to make bitcoin legal tender.


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