Bitcoin Becomes Legal Tender With Unfriendly Welcome by Apple & Google
Bitcoin (BTC) has become legal tender in El Salvador and with it will come a “ton” of “FUD,” the nation’s President Nayib Bukele warned. And as Bukele confirmed the news that government “brokers” had bought BTC 400 (USD 21m), the release of the state-run BTC wallet has apparently been hit by a delay of sorts – while a wave of negativity sweeps through the nation’s press.
Midnight has passed in El Salvador, where it is now September 7, the day when the law making BTC legal tender promulgates.
Yesterday, Bukele took to Twitter to first warn of “incoming FUD! Tons of it.” He then returned to announce a BTC 200 buy, claiming that “our brokers will be buying a lot more as the deadline approaches.” And he later added the update:
“El Salvador just bought 200 new coins. We now hold BTC 400.”
He then teased the dawn of history, with a three-minute countdown to the start of September 7.
But the President called on Apple, Huawei, and Google to “release” the Chivo wallet app, after stating that the nation was “waiting” for the app to be available in their stores. He first wrote that it “won’t be long” until the stores were updated – and then followed up with an angry face emoji and the imperative “Release him!”
Meanwhile, the nation’s Chivo ATMs are also ready for business, albeit under the watchful eye of heavily armed men. El Diario de Hoy (via its ElSalvador.com website) published photographs of the ATM in the San Martín district of San Salvador, housed in a small weather-proof building – and surrounded by automatic rifle-toting guards.
Police told the photographer that armed officers have been told to “routinely” patrol the facilities to ensure they stay “vandalism”-free.
Bukele has previously said that the government will spend at least USD 205m worth of public funds to ensure BTC adoption goes smoothly.
The negativity was palpable, however, as the same media outlet quoted various experts who called the bitcoin law “the work of beginners,” an “experiment” and even “stupid.”
Street protests continued, with the same media outlet quoting an individual named Blanca Marroquín, as stating:
“This bitcoin law is not for the poor.”
La Prensa Gráfica reported that an opposition MP from the VAMOS party has launched a bid to repeal the law.
Claudia Ortiz, the author of the draft bill, told the media outlet:
“If the [ruling Nuevas Ideas party] decides to ignore this request, it is not me who they are going to betray, they are going to betray the people who have elected them. They will betray the will of two out of three Salvadorans.”
On Twitter, the reaction in the international crypto community was mainly positive.
Alex Gladstein, the Chief Strategy Officer at the Human Rights Foundation, appeared to hint that the future has arrived with the first “nation state” announcing that it has bought bitcoin.
Both “El Salvador” and “bitcoin” began trending on Twitter as the law passed.