From the ground: the Bitcoin Italia vs. The Chivo wallet


Surprise Surprise. The Chivo portfolio is the antagonist of another “From The Ground” report. We have covered the history of El Salvador since Dutch, Salvadorian, French, and North American perspectives. It is time for Italy to mobilize. The Bitcoin Italia podcast traveled to San Salvador with a clear mission: to go a month and a half without even touching a dollar bill. To pay for everything with sats.

If you’re a “From The Ground” aficionado, you already know who the villain is. You guessed it, the Chivo wallet. Always on their way, sabotaging the whole operation. If only Salvadorans knew how well the Lightning Network works with literally any other wallet, including Bitcoin Beach.

Before the adventure begins, there is something to be said about Italian prose. These blog posts are a pleasure to read. The language is lush and extravagant, the sentences are full of colors and aromas. If you like this “From The Ground” report, we strongly recommend that you read all of the related articles in their entirety.

Bitcoin Italia podcast lays out its mission

We have already summarized it, but in the Introductory pos of the El Salvador seriest, the people behind the podcast state their goals in a nice way.

“The goal is to visit everything, to get out of big cities and tourist routes, to meet people, to live even in rural and uncivilized contexts, to understand how much this technology really penetrates the territory and if the population has really grasped its meaning. deep. Are they experiencing it as an opportunity or is it just another form of money to survive? “

If you are a “From The Ground” reader, you already know this. Most businesses do not yet accept Bitcoin. The education campaigns offered by the government were just promises. And the typical Salvadoran is as ignorant of Bitcoin as the typical citizen of any other country. Still, it will be interesting to watch this unfold through Italian eyes. After that, they ask a deeper question.

“The incessant announcements of President Nayib Bukele, Bitcoin City, Bitcoin Bond, are they just sophisticated political propaganda techniques or do they correspond to a specific project that is really taking shape?

It remains to be seen. And, maybe, the folks at Bitcoin Italia Podcast are the ones finding out exactly what’s going on with President Bukele. And the infamous Chivo wallet.

Arrival and first appearance of Chivo Wallet

Traveling during a pandemic is turning out to be a nightmare. The story of what these people must have gone through while in transit through the United States is frightening, but it is not “From The Ground” material. This series is about El Salvador and Bitcoin. And it begins at San Salvador airport, looking for a taxi with Lightning capabilities.

“On the way out we are mobbed by taxi drivers, our question is simple: we can only pay with cryptocurrency. A crowd is created in front of us. Faces a little puzzled at first. Then a beefy taxi driver approaches us and with a big smile shows us his smartphone. He installed two different wallets, Chivo and Bitcoin Beach. The forty minute drive to San Salvador and our hotel is magnificent. Tropical climate, palm trees as far as the eye can see, Latin American music and a lot of fatigue.

Tomorrow the adventure begins.

Let’s get right to the point, will you?

The Chivo wallet is the problem

At Bitcoin Italia Podcast Day Two in San Salvador, their purpose is clear. “Find food, adapters for local power outlets and buy SIM cards for our devices. Pay in bitcoin, of course. They quickly find an electronics store ready to take their place, but you already know what’s coming. Before the Chivo wallet makes its entrance, the Italians throw away this gem:

“Throwing yourself into the many street markets, in fact, the overview is unequivocal: it is a society based on cash. Everywhere, traders and customers are walking around with bundles of crumpled banknotes in their hands. This is the dollar realm where we play this game.

But then, it’s time for the truth to come out:

“At the time of payment, the two young people show us the interface of the Chivo wallet and there, the headaches begin. The app is not very understandable and they can only generate a bitcoin QR, so we have to pay on the base layer without being able to take advantage of the speed of the Lightning Network. Not bad. We sit outside the store looking around as we wait for the chain confirmations to arrive.

Later, in a restaurant, they have to face THE OTHER problem with the Chivo wallet. Even when they generate a Lightning QR code, this happens:

“At checkout, we need to explain to the owner how to generate a Lightning receipt. It’s hidden in the app menu. Hard to find. Convinced that we have finally succeeded, we realize that the transaction leaves our portfolio but does not reach Chivo.

Again, they have to pay with a chain transaction.

BTC price chart for 12/24/2021 on Bittrex | Source: BTC/USD on

What does a true Salvadoran entrepreneur think of Bitcoin?

While waiting for the necessary confirmations on the channel, they talk to the owner of the restaurant “about Bitcoin and Salvadoran politics.” First of all, they talk about the Chivo wallet:

“We find that their use of the Chivo wallet is quite similar to how we use PayPal. It offers a free electronic payment option and sending money from Chivo to Chivo is always instant. There are few tourists and he had never received payments from other wallets. He mainly uses it to exchange dollars with friends and clients.

Then they talk about Bitcoin and the Italians find out the hard truth:

“He’s not really clear on what Bitcoin is and absolutely doesn’t understand the difference between an on-chain transaction and a Lightning transaction. The app doesn’t help, the GUI seems to give more importance to USD payments, almost as if Bitcoin is an accessory.

The app in question, of course, is the Chivo wallet. Finally, they talk about Bitcoin education:

“He is interested in technology, he says he wants to know more, but specifies that no educational initiative has been promoted by the government and that the few tutorials available only show how the wallet works without making the slightest mention of the protocol. who supports him.

It is heartbreaking. However, what the restaurant owner says will be crucial when Italians download the Bitcoin Beach Wallet and see the difference in approach they’ve taken. This will happen in the second episode “From The Ground” hosted by the Bitcoin Italia podcast. Coming soon.

Chivo Wallet, the Bitcoin Italia podcast in El Salvador


The devastating first day doesn’t end there. Italians go to a bar and again the Chivo Wallet fails and they have to settle their bill with a chain transaction. At least they only use Bitcoin. The mission still stands. The Bitcoin Italia podcast ends with:

“It is of course too early to take stock and we will still have plenty of opportunities to dig deeper, but after the first two days in El Salvador we have the distinct impression that the Bitcoin Ley bottleneck is precisely the wallet. of State.”

If our “From The Ground” reports are correct, it certainly appears to be. The main problem is the Chivo wallet.

Featured Image: Bitcoin Italia Podcast at El Salvador, from this post | Charts by TradingView


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