News From El Salvador, Early October: The Chivo Ecosystem’s Stress Test


Another month, another Bitcoin mined using volcanic power. That’s what’s happening in El Salvador, the little country that could. Plus, Moneygram alters its business. Problems and solutions with Chivo ATMs and the Chivo ecosystem as a whole. Stars in Bitcoin Beach and direct reports from the ground. This edition of our now regular news roundup comes extra charged with action and heartwarming stories, so buckle up!

Related Reading | By The Numbers: How Much Western Union And MoneyGram Will Lose From El Salvador’s Bitcoin Law

The crazy thing is, the Bitcoin Law went into effect just a month ago. And all of this is happening as people from all over the world arrive in the country for the two Bitcoin conferences that it’ll host this month. 

El Salvador ‘s Volcanic Bitcoin Mine Is On

  • A few days after sharing this video of the Volcanic Bitcoin mine already in action, President Bukele shows the receipts. He posted the Account Balance from “the first Bitcoin mining” done using that sweet geothermal renewable energy. The total adds up to only slightly over $500, but it means so much both for El Salvador and for Bitcoin.
  • If you prefer to receive your news from beautiful ladies instead of reading, these CNBC hosts have the previous story covered. They talk positively about what mining with such clean energy means for Bitcoin’s image. At the top, Michael Saylor completes the report with one of his philosophical phrases. “Bitcoin mining upgrades thermal energy into digital energy that can be exported anywhere in the world and stored without power loss.

Moneygram Goes Crypto To Compete 

  • El Salvador ‘s Technology & Economy International Affairs Advisor, Mónica Taher, has the scoop on Moneygram. The company “closed an alliance with Coinme at the beginning of this year. Remittance shipments fell by 6% in 2020 and the company expects cryptocurrencies to make its business more attractive.” Analyze her emojis and you’ll know she’s hinting that El Salvador and its volcanoes are the cause. 

BTC price chart for 10/04/2021 on FTX | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com

What’s Going On With The Chivo Ecosystem?

  • President Bukele also shared the Chivo ecosystem’s dashboard with several stats. At the time, the Chivo wallet had 2.255.936 users. In the interactions below the tweet, you’ll find a lot of people complaining about system malfunctions. The Chivo ecosystem is barely surviving the stress test, but it’s surviving. 
  • Bitcoin Magazine’s Aaron van Wirdum was a victim of system malfunction. “Chivo ATM ate my bitcoin today. No cash in return, no receipt, no response from customer service.” Luckily, everything worked out in the end. “This issue was resolved over DM; I got my $40 out of the machine.” There are hiccups all over the Chivo ecosystem, but hey, the experiment went live less than a month ago.
  • Salvadoreans who pay for gas using the Chivo wallet will get a discount. In the photos, you can see the different amounts you’ll have to pay with or without Chivo. The people at Bitcoin Beach provide commentary. “Never hurts to give a little incentive to people to try doing something in a new way.  Once they experience the ease of Bitcoin they will never go back.
  • The people at Bitcoin Beach also inform the incoming new wave of tourists that they don’t have to visit currency exchanges at the airport. They can use the Chivo ATMs to sell their Bitcoin and extract Dollars. And they don’t even have to do that, because everybody accepts Bitcoin there. 

Chivo Reports From The Ground

Before we go to the Bitcoin Beach news, some first-hand reporting is in order.

  • Real-life people are using Bitcoin, this pseudonymous Bitcoiner informs us. “There was a line in front of me and 3 consumers were using Chivo wallet to pay for good and services.”
  • A returning visitor informs us that 85% of vendors in El Zonte now take Bitcoin. Also, “Locals are loving bitcoin and have different wallets on their phones.”

Back At Bitcoin Beach: Stars

  • Surfing superstar Bethany Hamilton visited Bitcoin Beach, the Hope House and El Zonte’s waves. “So much fun!!! Loved see ALL the amazing work y’all are doing even beyond Bitcoin,” she said. But wait… is there something beyond Bitcoin?
  • The pastries vendor that we told you about in the previous News From El Salvador received donations from all around the world bought a new motorcycle to sell his product with.

Related Reading | President Bukele Clears Up Misconceptions About The Government’s Chivo Wallet

  • Today in Miami Beach, the Oslo Freedom Forum’s Bitcoin Academy will open its doors. Roman Martínez and the people at Bitcoin Beach were going to be present in the panel titled “Building a Bitcoin Community.”
  • Sadly, though, Roman Martínez can’t make it.
  • As a consolation prize, he was featured in a Time Magazine article.

That’s it for now. The El Salvador Bitcoin experiment is the story of the year, probably. Join us again in a couple of weeks to check on the development of the Chivo ecosystem and this amazing story. 

Featured Image: Chivo advertising from this tweet | Charts by TradingView





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