El Salvador’s president, Nayib Bukele announced on Sunday that his government will be installing at least 200 Bitcoin ATMs in the country ahead of the world’s oldest cryptocurrency going into mainstream legal circulation on September 7th.
“The Bitcoin that you receive will be automatically converted into dollars (if you wish) and you can leave it in your electronic wallet or withdraw it in cash at any of the 200 ATMs that will be everywhere. There will also be 50 branches to withdraw or deposit money.” he tweeted.
He also asserted that “Chivo”, the government commissionless electronic wallet were being put up everywhere and users would be able to use the wallets application in withdrawing, depositing, and receiving money or Bitcoin from anywhere in the world.
Businesses would also be able to receive payments in Bitcoin from which they had the option of keeping the digital asset or transforming it automatically to dollars without any cost. The wallet would however be downloadable in all app stores with a $30 tip after the legal tender takes effect.
The announcement comes only a few days since the countries central bank unveiled two documents aimed at helping financial institutions in the country deal with Bitcoin.
Following its adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender in June, El-Salvador has received a fair share of criticism and warnings from various quarters including local opponents. In June, the World Bank flatly rejected the countries request to receive help with the adoption of the cryptocurrency citing environmental and transparency shortcomings.
In July, in a detailed blog post dubbed “Cryptoassets as National Currency? A Step Too Far” IMF also sounded a warning on El Salvador’s move citing that cryptocurrencies’ value was just too volatile and unrelated to the real economy. The organization cited various dangers that adopting the asset would bring including the monetary policy losing bite, macroeconomic instability, destroy financial integrity, undermine consumer protection as well as environmental concerns with its mining.
Despite growing skepticism and criticism from various quarters on El Salvador’s Bitcoin adoption, a notable number of countries have expressed interest in allowing crypto transactions, rather choosing to draw regulations that would govern the industry instead of outrightly banning them, steps that could lead to eventual adoption.
The leader hit out at opponents, expressed his confidence in the Bitcoin working out for Salvadorans with the Chivo application saving his town about $400 million in commissions or remittances.
“Some will prefer to believe the thieving opponents that they have done nothing more than looting our country, destroy it, and pay to assassinate our people. Others will decide to believe the Government. But in the end, everyone will realize the reality on September 7” he said.