The President of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, announced via Twitter Sunday that 200 ATMs and 50 in-person kiosks are being built to launch on September 7 to support its forthcoming law making Bitcoin legal tender. President Bukele also noted that the government will facilitate the buying and selling of Bitcoin in El Salvador through its new Chivo App without collecting any commission.
Bukele’s Twitter thread suggested many ways El Salvadorians can choose to benefit from the simple onboarding into Bitcoin the government promised to provide, such as receiving payment in Bitcoin through the Chivo app, or instead choosing to cash Bitcoin out in one of the 200 new ATMs.
Perhaps the biggest advantage to the citizen who uses Chivo will be the ability to send and receive remittances without any additional fee. Bukele noted, “Our town pays $400 MILLION a year in commissions on remittances.” With Bitcoin that number could effectively be reduced to zero.
Bukele tweeted, “A Salvadoran abroad will be able to send money INSTANTLY to their relative in El Salvador. You can send you #bitcoin (if you want) or you can send you DOLLARS, if you want.”
The president noted the other relative advantage of business owners and citizens who choose to download the app to include receiving payments and gifts in Bitcoin from other citizens and tourists, and expanding their business to support a commissioned, low-fee transfer of money from anywhere in the world.
Bukele also emphasized that despite some misunderstandings, Bitcoin adoption is an individual choice for each citizen, and that the ability to withdraw the $30 government hand-out in dollars will be facilitated by many ATMs across the country running 24/7.
Alongside the announcements came considerable backlash from Bukele toward the critics of the Bitcoin adoption law, and critics of the El Salvadorian government in general.
“Once in effect, people will see the benefits, they will be left as liars and they will lose double,” he wrote.
He again emphasized that Bitcoin was advantageous for anyone receiving remittance, but was still the choice of the individual to adopt, “If you don't want to, you can always go to the Western Union queue and pay commission. There is no problem.”
Bukele tweeted, “Another advantage will be that businesses will be able to receive payments in #bitcoin from tourists and investors.
Tourist workers will be able to receive tips in this currency as well.
They can keep the #bitcoin or transform them automatically to DOLLARS without ANY cost.”
The response to his “opposition” was direct, “Some will prefer to believe the thieving opponents that they have done nothing more than loot our country, destroy it, and pay to assassinate our people.
Others will decide to believe the Government.”
President Bukele also said the Chivo app would be available in the app store as scheduled, on September 7, to coincide with Bitcoin becoming legal tender by law in El Salvador.