If we want to know what is really going on in El Salvador, the way to go is to ask a Salvadoran. Our First off the floor Report contained phenomenal information but there are details that only a local can provide. Fortunately for us, the Bitcoin en Español podcast, a Swan Bitcoin production, had the Salvadoran guest we needed. And since the show is in Spanish, Bitcoinist has you covered with translation and information processing.
Darvin Otero is a professional developer and open source fan. He’s the product manager for TiankiiPay. A bitcoin payment processor that happens to be the only one with direct integration with the government’s Chivo wallet. So therein lies his loyalty. According to Otero, “Tiankii” means the open market in the open air for the Mayans. The company’s aim is to “Simplify the way people pay with Bitcoin.”Your website does this.
“Tiankii Pay is a payment gateway that helps companies accept Bitcoin payments securely anywhere. TiankiiPay is focused on providing tools for businesses to accept Bitcoin payments in all of their distribution channels from all Bitcoin wallets. “
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A Salvadoran take on the implementation of the Bitcoin Law
You can already lead a pure Bitcoin life in El Salvador. All supermarkets, restaurants and large fast food chains accept it. However, it is not everywhere. the controversial article 7 of the Bitcoin Law says “Every economic actor must accept Bitcoin as a means of payment,“But it is not enforced. Yet. So far, the government has left room for everyone to adjust to the new measures. To the new reality. About her Bitcoin life.
Chivo ATMs usually have long lines during rush hour. The Salvadorans use them left and right. Otero believes there should be more. In his view, citizens may not know anything about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general, but they see the entire Chivo ecosystem as a useful tool. The most demanding users use the Chivo wallet for trading. Since it is so easy to exchange BTC for dollars and vice versa, these Salvadorans are buying low and selling high.
Otero estimates that 60% of the companies promoting Bitcoin worldwide already have offices in El Salvador. If they go to one of the frequent Bitcoin meetings, Salvadorans will find representatives from Bitrefil, Bitcoin Magazine or Blockstream. There are also two big Bitcoin events coming up, the Lightning Network Summit “Adopting Bitcoin”, and the Latin American Bitcoin and Blockchain Conference AKA LABITCONF.
BTC price chart for 11/05/2021 on Bitstamp | Source: BTC / USD on TradingView.com
What does El Salvador think about the Bitcoin law today?
When the law came into effect, there was fear among Salvadorans. In the first few days, the Chivo app had serious problems. Article 7 was a hot topic, but according to Otero, bitcoin had to be legal tender:some level of legal enforceability.“Nowadays the app works and, according to President Bukele, three of the seven million Salvadorans have it installed.
Since Otero works at TiankiiPay, he has a different record. According to him, the number of transactions is increasing week by week. He believes they go through a process of acceptance and adoption that is similar to any other product or tool. “There is less fear now“Says Otero. He tells a story about a time when the ATM discounted the BTC but didn’t give him the dollars. He filed a complaint and tech support called him and gave him a code and he could get the money out of the machine. On another occasion, he bought the dip from a Chivo ATM.
More Salvadoran Bitcoin stories
The hosts Camila Campton and Javier Bastardo ask him about freedom of choice. Otero replies that the Chivo wallet is pre-configured to convert everything into dollars. You have to be an advanced user to receive BTC. A person can only buy a maximum of $ 1,000 in BTC per day. A company can buy $ 3,000. “The central bank regulators who defined these rules are rather conservative“Says Otero. They protect the $ 150 million trust that drives the entire operation.
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Other curiosities are that there are chivo vans that host events outside of the capital, providing assistance and instructions to new users. When Salvadorans pay with BTC, they receive discounts at gas stations. And a Salvadoran man auctioned a copy of the now famous Legal Tender Day newspaper for more than $ 1,000. “We are part of the history of money“, Claims Otero towards the end of the interview. And of course he’s right.
Featured image: Screenshot from the podcast episode | TradingView charts
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