Nayib Bukele, the President of El Salvador, has stated that companies are free to “offer whatever services they like using bitcoin (BTC),” but has again refuted the notion that the state will seek to pay pensions or allow firms to pay wages in anything other than fiat USD.
He took to Twitter to lash out at critics who he claimed had “started again with” reports claiming that “wages will be paid in bitcoin.” But, he added:
“A private company can offer the services it wants. This is a free country. But wages and pensions, the law states, must be paid in dollars.”
He claimed that his critics had no “stick to beat” him with, “so they have to invent new [sticks] to keep fooling the people who still believe what they say.”
“[Critics] said that we were going to take the dollar out of circulation […] and that we would pay public employees with bitcoin. They said that we were going to pay pensions with bitcoin, that the [steet food vendors] would be forced to accept bitcoin and that the elderly were going to run out of money, because they couldn’t use smartphones. What happened to all that? Nothing!” according to Bukele.
He concluded by stating that all his critics “have left” to do is “to lie” as “they have always done.”
Bukele had earlier posted on a more jubilant note, claiming that a third of the population of El Salvador was now using the state-issued Chivo bitcoin wallet.
The President posted a screenshot of a Chivo wallet interface showing that the app had more than 2.25m users.
Bukele has previously warned his followers at home – and those members of the international crypto community that have embraced his BTC adoption plans – that “tons of FUD” would be “incoming” as a result of the BTC law that promulgated earlier this month, making the token legal tender on a more or less even footing with the fiat USD.
Meanwhile, in the pages of El Diario de Hoy, one of Bukele’s most prominent media outlet critics, journalists wrote how the government has already spent USD 63m worth of public funds on BTC giveaways so far via the Chivo app.
As previously reported, the government has incentivized Chivo app downloads by offering citizens a golden hello of USD 30 worth of BTC when they register on the platform.
The media outlet noted that this figure was separate to another USD 5m or so spent on purchasing BTC on September 6 and 7, as well as September 19, when Bukele announced that the state was “buying the dip” in token prices.
The newspaper also questioned Bukele’s claims about the Chivo app, stating that download figures “cannot yet be accurately verified.”
It added that a large number of citizens have downloaded the app “with the sole purpose of withdrawing the USD 30,” with “some affirming that after withdrawing the money they will proceed to uninstall the app from their mobile phones.”
Of the BTC purchases, the media outlet accused the government of obscuring or hiding data, noting that “there is no information on the intermediaries” used to make the BTC buys or “on the payment of commission fees that exchanges would have charged” the state in all three instances.
El Diario de Hoy late last week also published photos of long lines outside Chivo ATMs in the capital San Salvador, where BTC holders were waiting “hours” to swap their BTC funds for USD.
– What Are Salvadorans Doing with their USD 30 Bitcoin Giveaways?
– Thousands Joined Anti-Bitcoin March in El Salvador, BTC ATM Torched
– ‘Dictator’ Bukele ‘Buys the Bitcoin Dip’ as 1.1M Users Flock to Chivo Wallet
– Bukele Says Chivo Bitcoin App Is Running at 100%, but Storms Are Brewing