When Bitcoin was announced as legal tender in El Salvador, thousands of Salvadorians eagerly downloaded the Chivo wallet furnished by the countries government. However, many users experienced challenges and the hyperbitcoinization dream was slowed.
After several user complaints about the Chivo wallet, El Salvador reached out to Alpha Point, which is a U.S based crypto exchange software company, to help with improvements.
Challenges surrounding adoption
According to Ishi Kawa, who is a prominent Bitcoiner, most Salvadorians aren’t even aware that the government has partnered with Alpha Point to improve the Chivo wallet. “People don’t read government press releases, so what’s left is the bad impression that Chivo left after their negative user experience”. Ishi adds that bugs in the Chivo wallet may have been the reason why there are 100,000 active users out of 4 million downloads.
Small and medium-sized businesses will have difficulty re-engaging with the Chivo wallet because many of them who went through the trouble of integrating lightning payment systems to their PoS platform, had transactions disappear or become delayed.
Clearing up the Misinformation
Many in the international Bitcoin community have been concerned with the rumours surrounding the backend of Chivo using altcoins. However, according to Igor Telyatnikov, CEO of Alpha Point, the Chivo wallet utilizes Bitcoin only and is easily provable through on-chain transactions.
Adoption of Bitcoin has been much slower than anticipated in El Salvador, however, it does not appear to be because of Bitcoins fundamental characteristics. It is rather the buggy applications built on Bitcoin rails that hurt the trust of citizens surrounding the utility of the Chivo wallet.
Bitcoin adoption is anticipated to improve as the applications around Bitcoin improve. According to Telyatnikov, lightning integration is now functional, transactions are no longer getting stuck, there are faster and more reliable transfers with banks and the Chivo support team is more prompt in responding to transaction issues.
What is left now is the communication between the government and the Salvadoran people to increase usage and trust to regain active users on the network.