El Salvador’s First Day Under Bitcoin Law, First-Hand Testimony + Video

El Salvador’s First Day Under Bitcoin Law, First-Hand Testimony + Video

We received the statistics and read the charts, but… what was El Salvador’s first day under Bitcoin law really like? Let’s follow Bart Mol, Dutch national and host of the Satoshi Radio Podcast, on a wild ride between San Salvador and El Zonte. He’ll show us the good, the bad, and the ugly. No one is safe from this first-hand report, myths will fall and morale will rise.

Are you ready for this?

The story starts with a historic newspaper in front of El Salvador’s Central Bank…

I’m in San Salvador on #bitcoin day. Starting this thread to keep you posted.My feeling as of this moment: we are witnessing history. pic.twitter.com/u9S9r7S0zX— Bart Mol (@Bart_Mol) September 7, 2021

Under Bitcoin Law: “We Are Witnessing History”

The newspaper is a constant presence throughout Bart’s thread. It’s sold out everywhere. Somebody in San Salvador knew how important this moment in history was. Later on in the thread, Bart tried to buy a copy of the newspaper from an old man that was reading it and the man refused his offer. “He told us that “people need to learn and understand” about bitcoin,” though.

The first big adventure was covering the anti-Bitcoin protests. A big subject for traditional media. A big joke for the pro-Bitcoin activists on Twitter. Were they as small as this birds-eye-view picture suggests? Bart’s first-hand witness account tells another story.

At the protests now, around 150 people at the square protesting against #Bitcoin pic.twitter.com/33ox1FVFW5— Bart Mol (@Bart_Mol) September 7, 2021

They were 150 people at first but, as the day advanced, other groups joined. Then, they all started “some kind of march to the big square.” The journalist in Bart took over and tried to do some digging. “Talked to one of the organizers. The protest is not only against bitcoin, but also against the regime. He told me that “the law is implemented to fast and nobody needs it.” If you only knew, organizer. If you only knew.

I wouldn’t say it is the biggest protest that I’ve ever seen, but it is not insignificant either. Really loud fireworks are being thrown around. pic.twitter.com/AkWy2v6phf— Bart Mol (@Bart_Mol) September 7, 2021

The poet in Bart takes over as he describes the situation. “I wouldn’t say it is the biggest protest that I’ve ever seen, but it is not insignificant either.” So, both sides of the media were lying to us. What do you know? Then, the police put drones in the air to monitor the crowd, but they were not necessary. “March ended at the “Palacio Legislativo”. We will go back to the center to check out the other side. Goal of the day: make a payment with my own Lightning node.

The Other Side: Chivo Problems

The first Chivo ATM they encountered wasn’t working. It was inside a coffee store. “The owner told us that there were some problems with the app and the ATM. Mostly connectivity issues with other wallets.

Dropped into a coffee store. They had the Chivo ATM in the middle of the store. It was not working. The owner told us that there were some problems with the app and the ATM. Mostly connectivity issues with other wallets. pic.twitter.com/PH9cVCpX70— Bart Mol (@Bart_Mol) September 7, 2021

Life under Bitcoin law is not as easy as it seems. There are lines outside the Chivo cashpoints and the ATM is out of coins. When they do find a functional ATM, it appears that it only works with the Chivo Wallet. “NO LIGHTNING SUPPORT. That was a disappointment.” Luckily for the El Salvador Bitcoin experiment, they might be wrong about that. What they’re not wrong about is this:

I sold $20 of #Bitcoin. I paid no conversion fees, only network fees. Got a receipt, the money should come out of the ATM after one block confirmation. Pretty sure that time has passed, didn’t receive anything. Basically funded one Salvadorans airdrop. pic.twitter.com/ZjFxdMvJQI— Bart Mol (@Bart_Mol) September 7, 2021

Bart sells $20 worth of BTC and the ATM doesn’t give him the money. Then, a friend buys $20 worth of BTC and the system takes a while to send it to him, but it eventually arrives. However, “It looks like Chivo deducted the on chain fees from his buy.” According to President Bukele, under Bitcoin law, all transactions using the app are supposed to be commission-free. “The people however are very nice and helpful. They told us that since it is the first day the application and ATM has some difficulties.

The Other Side: Lightning Payments

Then, things took a turn for the best. Bart is able to accomplish his “Goal of the day: make a payment with my own Lightning node.” Life under Bitcoin law is good.

WE DID IT!!! We used Lightning at @pizzahut. Fully non custodial, using our own node back in the Netherlands. Costs? 26 sats. This is so dope. pic.twitter.com/gLoK3YyzYW— Bart Mol (@Bart_Mol) September 7, 2021

And then, they buy a hamburger in some little unknown restaurant and show us the technology that the restaurant is working with. “The solution was clearly still in development UX wise,” but it works. For the transaction, they pay “6 sats. $0,003. Let that sink in.” To perform it, they used a “node that is 9.500 km away.

Then, they go to a little unknown coffee house and, finally, make a payment using the Chivo wallet’s Lightning Network capabilities. “Guys this is the future. Hyped af right now.” This is life under Bitcoin law.

Third time’s a charm! Paid for a cold brew at @Starbucks. Guys this is the future. Hyped af right now. pic.twitter.com/IryCGkCIum— Bart Mol (@Bart_Mol) September 8, 2021

Under Bitcoin Law: The Epilogue

Arrived at the #Bitcoin meetup in San Salvador. Time for a beer! Next stop: bitcoin day party in El Zonte. pic.twitter.com/vZSI0mJchy— Bart Mol (@Bart_Mol) September 8, 2021

After that full day of activities, Bart and company went to a Bitcoin meetup. In the middle of the night, he asked himself the big question. The next day, they went to El Zonte for a Bitcoin day party. “Made it back safely to El Zonte. Closing this thread. Thanks all for the amazing support. It truly was a historical day. ” It seems like we all should have gone to El Salvador to bear witness.

Anyway, let’s close this with a related and relevant poll. How long until Bitcoin becomes the global reserve currency?

With #Bitcoin becoming legal tender in #ElSalvador, how long until it becomes the global reserve currency? @nayibbukele— Bitcoinist.com (@bitcoinist) September 7, 2021

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