In other news, the country is offering a discount for those who buy petrol using Bitcoin — and crypto has been mined using volcanic energy for the first time.
When El Salvador adopted Bitcoin as legal tender, it was hoped the cryptocurrency would offer a viable alternative to paying in U.S. dollars — and boost financial inclusion in a country where 70% of adults don’t have a bank account.
But one month on from the landmark law coming into force, and it seems the government’s official Chivo wallet is often being used for a classic crypto activity: Day trading.
According to Bloomberg, Chivo’s arrival has inspired a wave of speculation — with everyone from Uber drivers to store owners attempting to capitalize on BTC’s erratic market movements.
One store owner in the country’s capital, Santos Enrique Hernandez, says he made $12 in two days by buying Bitcoin’s dips and selling again when prices rise. In El Salvador, that’s the equivalent to a whole day’s pay on the minimum wage.
In a sign that levels of adoption are slowly but surely beginning to increase, a 61-year-old Uber driver told the news outlet:
“It’s like credit cards. We got used to using plastic, and now we need to start using crypto. The world has to evolve.”
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On Sunday night, President Nayib Bukele said three million Salvadorans are now using the Chivo wallet — but it’s unclear whether this figure accounts for those who downloaded the app, claimed their $30 in Bitcoin, converted it into dollars and ran.
In an attempt to sweeten the deal for those who are still concerned about making crypto payments, Bukele has announced that those who pay for their petrol using BTC will get a $0.20 discount on every gallon of fuel that they buy.
Both individuals and companies can benefit — and it’s hoped that the discount will offset rising fuel prices while cutting transportation costs in supply chains.
Although Bitcoin has rallied convincingly from lows of $40,000 seen in September — hitting highs of $49,130 over the weekend — it’s some way off the highs of $52,853.76 last seen on Sept. 7… the day El Salvador’s Bitcoin Law came into force.
On Friday, Bukele also revealed that the country had successfully mined 0.00599179 BTC using the geothermal energy from volcanoes. Although that’s only worth $285 at the time of writing, El Salvador’s plans are only at an early stage as equipment continues to be tested and installed.