The Bitso crypto platform is providing the core services behind ‘Chivo,’ the bitcoin wallet rolled out by El Salvador’s government.
In addition to providing backend technology, Bitso will offer custody and exchange services to Chivo. To facilitate the transactions in US dollars, Bitso said it is working with the U.S. federally regulated Silvergate Bank.
With over 2.75 million users, Bitso bills itself as Latin America’s fastest-growing crypto platform. Santiago Alvarado, vice president of Bitso for Business, said the company wants to help “transform payment structures that can increase financial inclusion.”
Earlier this year, Bitso raised $250 million in its Series C investment round. This put its valuation at $2.2 billion, which made it Latin America’s first crypto unicorn. Bitso customers in the United States primarily use the service to send money back home. Onlookers are also waiting to see whether El Salvador’s adoption of bitcoin as legal tender will do anything to streamline remittance payments.
Bitcoin law in effect
On Sept 7, El Salvador became the first nation in the world to introduce bitcoin as legal tender. Just ahead of the introduction of bitcoin as legal tender in El Salvador, the government bought several hundred bitcoins. President Nayib Bukele announced the purchase of 200 BTC on Twitter, making for a total of 400 bitcoins the government now owns. At current rates, that amount of BTC totals $20 million. In a separate post, Bukele said the country plans to buy “a lot more.”
As the price of bitcoin dropped later in the day on Sept 7, Bukele Tweeted that he was “buying the dip.” The President proceeded to announce acquiring another 150 bitcoins, putting the total owned by the government at 550 BTC.
Despite its relative unpopularity with the general populace, Bukele’s government is taking several measures to facilitate the adoption of bitcoin. Besides the digital wallet, this also includes Chivo ATMs, which will allow consumers to buy bitcoins or convert them into cash.