For Four Days Chivo Digital Wallet Continues To Have Problems
Residents of El Salvador continue to have difficulty accessing Chivo. (photo: twitter)

JAKARTA – For the fourth day in a row, a technical glitch has hit the government of El Salvador's bitcoin digital wallet, Chivo. This is a setback that could discourage citizens from signing up for an app promoted by President Nayib Bukele.

Problems accessing wallets, withdrawing money from ATMs, and verifying data, and the government not depositing the $30 bonus that Bukele promised all Chivo users were the most frequently complained of. This was revealed in Reuters interviews with 10 users and user complaints posted on Twitter and Facebook.

Melvin Vasquez, a 30-year-old tattoo artist, downloaded Chivo on Tuesday, September 7 when the bitcoin law came into effect in El Salvador. But since then until now he claimed not to be able to use it.

"I wanted to see if I could buy something, but it wouldn't even let me in", Vasquez complained. This complaint arose after he tried to buy pizza at a restaurant on the outskirts of San Salvador. "They should have prepared more... It's not so comfortable", he added

User complaints have also piled up on Alphabet's Apple App Store and Google Play.

"I downloaded it and entered all my data. Now when I want to log in again, it doesn't let me and doesn't recognize my pin or face ID. I have no other choice. Honestly, this app is so bad!", said one user.

President Bukele briefly stepped in on Wednesday to manage the full rollout of a payment app that supports El Salvador's adoption of bitcoin as legal tender. Chivo, which promises commission-free transactions, and the El Salvador government hopes to be adopted by unbanked citizens. However, the app has been disconnected several times to fix the annoyance.

The Bukele government is targeting 2.5 million Salvadorans, about 39% of the population, to download Chivo, which is named after the local word for 'good'. He argues that bitcoin will allow Salvadorans to save $400 million annually in commissions on remittances.

But many of the people who send or receive dollars to El Salvador don't trust bitcoin. Some expressed fear of losing money, given the high volatility of cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin has seen daily trading moves of 10% or more 10 times this year, as it did in 2020 and 2019, according to Refinitiv data. In 2018 and 2017, there were 17 days each year with 10% of movement or more.

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