Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele intervened on Wednesday to manage a charged rollout of the payments app that supports the country’s adoption of bitcoin as a legal currency, and called on users to report any problems on his Twitter account.
Adopting similar language to IT departments in offices around the world, Mr. Bukele has asked users to close and restart the app if a “currently under maintenance” error screen appears.
The historical adoption of Bitcoin as a legal currency by the Central American country has faced problems that have contributed to a collapse in the value of the digital currency globally.
Bitcoin continued to lose ground on Wednesday, closing at $46,000, down 1.7%.
“Any financial innovation on this scale will bring problems in the growth phase. However, if we learn anything from observing the markets in the past year, bitcoin hawks will seek to push the digital currency back again just as quickly,” said Michael Kammerman, CEO of owned Skilling. Scandinavian fintech has “fallen”.
Some market watchers see a bullish future, with a new cryptocurrency research team at Standard Chartered predicting that bitcoin will reach $100,000 by early next year and potentially reach $175,000 in the long term.
Bukele has sent out a stream of Twitter messages over the past 36 hours instructing users on how to download the government-backed Chivo app that promises commission-free transactions and that its management hopes will be adopted by the unbanked.
Overnight the president said the app, the digital wallet, was being fired for a second time to “improve the user experience and the issues he encountered during the day.”
“Hopefully tomorrow will be much better,” he wrote in a tweet.
Several users responded in its comments section to report persistent installation issues.
Douglas Rodriguez, president of El Salvador’s central bank, said during an event in the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa that “the eyes of the world” were on his country and that the adoption of bitcoin was a process that needed time to “mature”.
Addressing concerns that the digital currency could encourage illicit activity, Mr. Rodriguez said the bank’s rules for using bitcoin were designed to meet money laundering standards and were well accepted by international authorities.
El Salvador’s bitcoin law states that the market will determine the exchange rate between the cryptocurrency and the US dollar, the country’s other legal currency. It says that all prices can be expressed in bitcoin and tax contributions can be paid in digital currency, while bitcoin transactions are not subject to capital gains taxes.
Despite technical hurdles, the app’s rollout has made some waves in El Salvador, in part due to a government donation of $30 of bitcoin to every local user who signs up, and despite surveys showing many people are concerned about bitcoin’s volatility. .
In the El Salvador version of the Apple App Store, Chivo was the first financial app downloaded on Wednesday.
Mr Bukele said earlier that only a few phone models could initially access the app on Google Play from Alphabet to avoid a rush that could crash the system.
On Wednesday afternoon, he wrote on Twitter that Google Play is available for Alcatel smartphones and that more models will be added, although it is important not to “saturate the servers” with too many records at the same time.
“We’re still fine-tuning the small details,” he said.
Reuters was not immediately able to determine how many times the app had been downloaded.
JPMorgan Chase said in a note on Wednesday that some technical hurdles are expected.
“These technical issues should not come as a surprise given that the country only had three months to prepare for this major experiment,” the bank said. “In sharp contrast, China has been preparing/testing the digital yuan for years and has yet to officially release it.”
Global retailers operating in El Salvador have been accepting bitcoin at some stores, including McDonald’s Corp. and Starbucks, along with many local outlets.
Mr. Bukele, 40, who is doing well in opinion polls but has been accused of undermining democracy, has used social media extensively to govern and engage with Salvadorans.
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