Six of 10 Salvadorans Quit Using the Chivo Wallet After Getting the Bitcoin Incentive, Study Finds

“Most users who used Chivo after spending the $30 bonus do not engage with the app intensively,” the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research reported.

AccessTimeIconApr 27, 2022 at 6:11 a.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 4:21 p.m. UTC

Only four of 10 Salvadorans who downloaded the state-run bitcoin (BTC) wallet Chivo said they still use it after obtaining the $30 bitcoin incentive dangled by President Nayib Bukele's government, according to a report published by the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research.

“Most users who used Chivo after spending the $30 bonus do not engage with the app intensively,” said the study, based on face-to-face surveys that took place in February with adults in 1,800 households across El Salvador.

“The median user reports no ATM withdrawals, and no payments sent or received in bitcoin in a given month,” the report said. It added that although “most citizens in El Salvador have a cell phone with internet, less than 60% of them downloaded Chivo Wallet.”

According to the report, “Chivo is not being widely used to receive remittances from abroad.” Its figures align with recent reports from the Salvadoran Central Bank, according to which 1.6% of remittances were received by digital wallets in February, the study said. “In the first quarter of 2022, we find almost no new adopters and the share of remittances in bitcoin is at its lowest point since Chivo Wallet’s launch,” it added.

In addition, 5% of Salvadorans paid taxes using bitcoin, while 20% of firms accept bitcoin and 11.4% said they had positives sales using the cryptocurrency, the report concluded.


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Andrés Engler

Andrés Engler was a CoinDesk editor based in Argentina, where he covers the Latin American crypto ecosystem. He holds BTC and ETH.