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El Salvador’s Chivo Wallet ‘Completely Unreliable,’ Users Say


blockworks.co 17 June 2022 23:02, UTC
Reading time: ~2 m

As cryptocurrency markets continue to slide, El Salvadorans using the state-run Chivo bitcoin wallet say they are unable to move their assets to wallets outside the government’s grasp. 

Two users who said they previously had no issues transferring funds told Blockworks they‘re now unable to move their bitcoin from Chivo to cold storage. The users spoke to Blockworks under the condition of anonymity. 

“Chivo is completely unreliable, and, as each day passes, we hear more and more stories about fraud and theft,” Andres Pineda, treasurer at Banco Cuscatlan in El Salvador, told Blockworks. “My account was actually hacked about a month ago, so I can’t even log in to check if I still have my funds.” 

Other users have taken to Twitter to complain. One user attempting to move bitcoin from a Chivo wallet to Binance couldn’t complete the transaction.

The reports come after months of complaints surrounding Chivo’s security. 

When it launched in September, the app did not require photo identification, only a date of birth and national identity card number (similar to a social security number), resulting in widespread fraud. Citizens and business owners also expressed concern with the length of time it took to access funds, according to local reports.

As a result, relatively few businesses now accept bitcoin, citizens say. 

“The only businesses that are accepting bitcoin readily, aside from a few, are big corporations like Starbucks and McDonald’s that have tech teams to implement it,” Alexandra Dumitru, a cryptocurrency consultant and advocate living in El Salvador, told Blockworks after Chivo launched. “It’s a pretty small percentage of businesses in the country, especially considering how many small tiendas [convenience stores] and whatnot there are.”

In September, El Salvador tapped institutional crypto wallet provider AlphaPoint to improve its in-house Chivo Wallet.

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