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Bitso Is Providing the ‘Core Service’ for El Salvador’s Chivo Bitcoin Wallet

The company will also work with Silvergate Bank to facilitate transactions in U.S. dollars

Sep 8, 2021 at 10:11 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 8, 2021 at 10:11 p.m. UTC

Mexico-based crypto exchange Bitso is the core crypto-service provider for Chivo, the digital wallet developed by the government of El Salvador for the use of bitcoin throughout the Central American country.

The company said in a press release Tuesday it will work with the U.S.-based Silvergate Bank to facilitate transactions in U.S. dollars. It is unclear whether this includes both international remittances and domestic transactions or only one type of transaction.

Bitso processed $1.2 billion worth of remittances between the U.S. and Mexico during 2020, adding that it is “now ready to apply this expertise to El Salvador,” the company said.

According to its press release, Bitso’s role as the core crypto-service provider began when the Chivo wallet app was placed in the Android and iOS phone app stores on Tuesday.

“We are looking forward to working with El Salvador in an initiative that will transform payment structures and increase financial inclusion in the country,” said Santiago Alvarado, VP of Bitso for Business. “As the leading crypto exchange in the region, we are thrilled to bring our experience in remittances and in secure and low-friction financial services to Salvadorans.”

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, the Chivo wallet registered technical errors and the government interrupted its use to reinforce “technical aspects,” according to a government statement published on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for Bitso did not respond to a request for comment about its role in this interruption.

According to Bitso, “The use of the Chivo wallet is completely optional, and those without citizenship will be able to access the app as well.”

In May, Bitso raised its Series C funding round at a $2.2 billion valuation. It was the region’s first cryptocurrency company to exceed a $1 billion valuation.

El Salvador has also tapped crypto custodian BitGo for wallet infrastructure and security.

DISCLOSURE

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