El Salvador began installing Bitcoin ATMs, allowing its citizens to convert the cryptocurrency into U.S. dollars and withdraw it in cash, as part of the government’s plan to make the token legal tender.
The government will install 200 of the teller machines to initially accompany its digital wallet called Chivo, a local slang term for ‘cool,’ President Nayib Bukele said on Twitter. Transactions will be commission-free, he said, adding that there will also be 50 financial branches across the country for withdrawing or depositing money.
Adopting Bitcoin will save Salvadorans $400 million per year in fees for receiving remittances from abroad, Bukele said.
El Salvador’s Bitcoin law will take effect on Sept. 7 and Salvadorans will be able to download the government’s Chivo digital wallet, enter their ID number and receive $30 in Bitcoin, Finance Minister Alejandro Zelaya said in a local TV interview on Monday. The government has created a $150 million fund to back Bitcoin to U.S. dollar conversions, he said.