Bitcoin Rewards Company Fold Expands to El Salvador, Brushing Off Jump in On-chain Fees

The firm says El Salvador will serve as its base for operations in Latin America.

AccessTimeIconMay 15, 2023 at 5:17 p.m. UTC

Bitcoin rewards company Fold has established an office and local team in El Salvador as part of its expansion into Latin America, signaling an ongoing appetite for investment in the region despite a recent spike in blockchain transaction fees that has disproportionately impacted users of the cryptocurrency.

Fold partnered with Visa in 2020 to offer a prepaid debit card that rewards users with up to 1% cash back paid in bitcoin (BTC). Earlier in the year, the company announced plans to expand that partnership globally.

The choice to establish a base in Latin America comes at a time where Bitcoin transaction fees have become prohibitively expensive for some Salvadorans due to a sudden explosion in transactions precipitated by the on-chain minting of BRC-20 tokens.

But the flurry in on-chain activity is showing signs of slowing down as congestion in the Bitcoin mempool – a database of unconfirmed transactions – has eased from nearly 500,000 unconfirmed transactions to roughly 250,000 at the time of reporting. That number generally stayed under 50,000 last year. Bitcoin is popular in El Salvador, a country known for being the first nation state to adopt the cryptocurrency as legal tender in 2021.

“We're thrilled to be establishing an office and local team in El Salvador,” Fold CEO Will Reeves said in a press release. “As a country that has embraced bitcoin and has been a pioneer in adopting new monetary technology, we believe that El Salvador is the perfect place for Fold to expand its presence in Latin America.”

Edited by Bradley Keoun.


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Frederick  Munawa

Frederick Munawa was a Technology Reporter for Coindesk. He covered blockchain protocols with a specific focus on bitcoin and bitcoin-adjacent networks.