The newest incentive for El Salvadorans to adopt Bitcoin as currency is a promise of $0.20 off per gallon at petrol stations.
Today, Samuel Haig at Cointelegraph reports this subsidy, which is intended to incentivize citizens to use El Salvador’s new Chivo wallet to hold Bitcoin, is being met with mixed reviews.
“(Some residents) were cynical of the government’s decision to offer the discount to only those who pay using Chivo, with another Twitter account questioning why the administration did not move to offer relief on fuel prices at an earlier date,” Haig writes.
Elsewhere, Alex McShane at Bitcoin Magazine reports that 3 million of El Salvador’s 6.8 million citizens have acted to create their own Chivo wallets, though Haig’s story provides some caveats:
“Onlookers have expressed skepticism regarding Bukele’s reports of surging crypto adoption, with outspoken crypto critic and author David Gerard asserting that Salvadoran officials are ‘feeding Bukele numbers that please him’ that ‘fall apart under the slightest examination.’” Haig reports.
Months ago, El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele announced that Bitcoin would be used as legal tender there. Other incentives have included a free $30 worth of Bitcoin to new users.
Many of these Bitcoin adopters have also gained from rising prices in the short term. After dipping down to around $45,000, BTC now stands above $50,000 as of press time. McShane reports the El Salvador government, which bought 700 Bitcoins on the dip, has already come up on than investment.
Other innovations reportedly include geothermal mining and the installation of hundred of “Bitcoin ATMs” around the country.
“The world is watching this experiment, and Bitcoiners are eager to see what country will be next to adopt Bitcoin as nations are forced to compete or be left behind,” McShane observes. “The game-theoretic prisoner’s dilemma has begun in global politics, and nation states that adopt Bitcoin first are at a great advantage.”
Will this tiny nation succeed in making bitcoin more of an institutional and government-based initiative? Stay tuned.