Bitso, a cryptocurrency platform in Latin America with over 2.75 million users, has announced that it will be the core crypto-service provider for Chivo, the bitcoin wallet developed by the government of El Salvador.
Launched in 2014, Bitso was the first crypto exchange in Mexico and had an ambitious mission to provide financial services for both the banked and unbanked with blockchain technology and digital assets. Today, they are the largest exchange in Latin America with a customer base of over 2.75 million. The company offers two main products: the Bitso App for new or experienced cryptocurrency users to buy, sell, send, or receive crypto in a simple and intuitive way; and Bitso Alpha, a professional-grade crypto trading platform.
Launched this week, the Chivo wallet enables payments in bitcoin or dollars between individuals and businesses from anywhere in the world. Users can automatically convert bitcoin transactions into dollars or opt to retain their bitcoin and later withdraw it in cash at the recently installed ATMs in the region. Intended to serve as an everyday wallet, like a mobile payments system app, the use of the Chivo wallet is completely optional, and those without citizenship will be able to access the app as well.
Bitso, who will work with Silvergate Bank to facilitate transactions in U.S. dollars, said that they are excited to work with El Salvador in what is an unprecedented opportunity to provide its citizens with universal access to bitcoin.
“At Bitso, we believe that this transformative technology will have a positive impact on the lives of millions of Salvadorans,” said Santiago Alvarado, VP of Bitso for Business. “Over the last seven years, we have worked tirelessly to identify the best approach to make Bitcoin accessible to more than 2.75 million customers across Mexico, Argentina and Brazil. Today, as the leading crypto-service provider for El Salvador’s wallet, we are committed to making crypto useful for Salvadorans. We are looking forward to working with El Salvador in an initiative that will transform payment structures and increase financial inclusion in the country,” added Alvarado. “As the leading crypto exchange in the region, we are thrilled to bring our experience in remittances and in secure and low-friction financial services to Salvadorans.”
As it currently stands, 70 percent of Salvadorans lack adequate access to basic financial services, and many are heavily reliant on income from remittances. In most cases, the costs associated with sending remittances through traditional means are excessively high, with direct costs falling upon senders and recipients. In light of this issue, Bitso has built crypto-backed solutions that provide remittance recipients more opportunities for saving and investing in local economies. Bitso’s services accounted for the processing of more than $1.2 billion dollars worth of remittances between the U.S. and Mexico during 2020. Bitso is now ready to apply this expertise to El Salvador.
“Bitso continues to grow in Central and South America and this engagement is a further recognition of their ability and expertise,” said Alberto Isola, Minister for Digital and Financial Service for HM Government of Gibraltar. “As a regulated Gibraltar DLT license holder, I am pleased to congratulate them on this development and their commitment in reaffirming the importance of regulation in this new industry.”
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