In El Salvador, Bitcoin seems to be a solid alternative for those currently excluded from banking services. The official Chivo Bitcoin wallet is showing very impressive numbers about Bitcoin transactions.
The number of users, just a few weeks after launch, has surpassed 2.2 million, which is probably more than the total number of Salvadorans who own a bank account.
Chivo is gaining an increasing number of users
The fact that this growth has occurred in less than a month suggests that many Central Americans, who do not currently have access to banking services, will soon be using Chivo as an alternative to receive and spend bitcoin, as BTC is now legal tender in the country.
Chivo is acquiring new users at an average rate of 142 every minute, or more than 8,500 new users every hour, and more than 200,000 per day.
If this rate is maintained, within the next month all adults in the country could be using it.
The government has made $30 in BTC available to any Salvadoran citizen who downloads and installs Chivo. It is only logical to expect that many people will decide to do so, in a country where the GDP per capita is less than $10 a day.
Chivo appears to be registering a volume of more than 65,000 transactions per second, made possible by the use of the Lightning Network, which allows for very fast and low-cost BTC transactions.
This figure reveals that Salvadorans are not only downloading and installing the wallet in order to cash in their $30 bonus but are also using it on a large scale to receive or send bitcoin.
Bitcoin daily transactions increase in El Salvador
This is a very large number for a country with only 6.5 million inhabitants. This would mean an average of almost 4 million transactions per minute, equivalent to more than 200 million per hour.
President Bukele himself specifies that this figure does not refer to the number of new transactions that are executed on average every second, but to the average number of transactions the system processes. It takes several seconds for each transaction to be fully processed, and the actual number of transactions per second could be an order of magnitude lower.
“Transacciones por segundo” doesn’t mean that we have 65,437 new transactions every sec, but that the system is processing an average of 65,437 transactions every sec.
Remember a single transaction takes several secs.
Don’t try to figure out total daily transactions with this.
— Nayib Bukele 🇸🇻 (@nayibbukele) September 27, 2021
As far as bitcoin ATMs are concerned, the figure made public is around 14,000 transactions per day, far from the 65,000 transactions per second processed by Chivo.
Salvadorans are using Chivo a lot, perhaps even more than they do for banking services overall, although the volumes of transactions processed in dollars, for example, are not known.
It is possible that El Salvador will become the first country where bitcoin is commonly used as an everyday currency, alongside the US dollar.