El Salvador’s Chivo bitcoin wallet gets a new software developer after complaints about ID theft and disappearing funds


El Salvador has signed up software developer AlphaPoint to improve its Chivo bitcoin wallet.
People using the wallet have complained about issues like disappearing funds and identity theft.
El Salvador issued the wallets to citizens after it adopted bitcoin as legal tender last year.

El Salvador has enlisted a new crypto software provider for its Chivo bitcoin wallet, which has drawn floods of complaints about failed transactions, lost funds and other tech glitches.

US developer AlphaPoint is now providing the infrastructure for the cryptocurrency wallet, the country’s government said Tuesday. 

El Salvador began issuing Chivo wallets to its citizens soon after it became the first country in the world to adopt bitcoin as legal tender in September. The mobile app lets people and businesses send and receive bitcoin.

It is now being actively used by millions of people, its leader President Nayib Bukele has said.

But Chivo users have reported a range of problems, such as identity theft, funds disappearing from wallets, blocked accounts, and unauthorized transactions. Phishing scams and bots targeted people seeking help on social media, according to reports.

The government put $30 worth of bitcoin in every wallet to encourage its use. Several people have claimed that hackers opened their Chivo wallets with their ID numbers to claim this incentive, the Block reported.

Athena Bitcoin, a provider and operator of bitcoin ATMs, supplied the technology for the Chivo wallet before being replaced by AlphaPoint.

“El Salvador and President Bukele really are leading the world in terms of national adoption of bitcoin,” AlphaPoint co-founder and chief executive Igor Telyatnikov said in a statement.

“No one else has even attempted a project of this nature. We at AlphaPoint are honoured to be involved in the process and to supply solutions that are both reliable and in keeping with the scale of this effort. The Chivo Wallet app is supporting millions of Salvadoreans, many of whom are accessing financial services for the first time.”

Bukele has said that making bitcoin legal tender will make it easier for people to get access to financial services, and to send and receive remittances from abroad. About 71% of Salvadoreans don’t have a bank account, according to Statista.

But the IMF in January urged El Salvador not to use bitcoin as legal tender, pointing to financial stability and consumer protection risks — a call rejected by Bukele.

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