El Salvador becomes first country to adopt bitcoin as its currency – Baltic News Network

The Central American country of El Salvador has made a landmark monetary decision by adopting bitcoin as its second official currency becoming the first country to do so, US broadcaster CNN reports.

From Tuesday, September 7, bitcoin is El Salvador’s official currency alongside the US dollar. Salvadorans will be able to download the «Chivo Wallet,» an application created by the government which will deliver USD 30 (EUR 25) worth of bitcoin to its population to promote its use.

Salvadorian President Nayib Bukele stated on Monday, September 6, that his government has purchased another 200 bitcoins ahead of El Salvador’s formal adoption of the currency. El Salvador now holds 400 bitcoins, which are worth nearly USD 21 million (EUR 18 million) at current trading levels.

To explain, cryptocurrencies are held in digital wallets, rather than through a conventional bank account. This means that populations in poorer communities with less access to banking services could use bitcoin as a way to reach more access to their finances, and yet social organizations have called on the Salvadoran government to repeal the law, mostly because they know about the extreme volatility of the cryptocurrency in its history since 2009, CNN reports.