A former Governor of the central bank of El Salvador has claimed that the state-run Chivo bitcoin (BTC) app would have already been shut down by regulators if it were a private company.
According to El Diario de Hoy, the ex-head of the Central Reserve Bank of El Salvador Carlos Acevedo has hit out at the state-run company that operates the wallet. Chivo, newspaper and social media reports claim, has been plagued with bugs that have affected functionality. Merchants have complained that payments using the app have failed, while claims of widespread identity theft have become commonplace.
Many public figures who say they have never used or downloaded the app say their personal details have been used by online crooks intent on claiming the USD 30 worth of BTC to which all new Salvadoran users are entitled when they first use Chivo.
Acevedo berated the fact that “no public institution has investigated” the alleged “problems” with the Chivo wallet – hinting that the app operator is enjoying protected status due to the fact that it is a state-owned company.
“If that company were a [privately run] firm, at the very least the Superintendency of the Financial System and the Defensoría del Consumidor [the main consumer watchdog in El Salvador] would have begun investigating it a long time ago.”
He accused the government and regulators of “passivity” in the face of mounting app-related problems.
The government and the Chivo operator have come under increased scrutiny this month. In mid-December, the human rights organization Cristosal claimed that the app could end up being hit with United States-led sanctions that would all but cripple its ability to function as an international crypto remittance platform.
The organization noted that it had filed complaints from some 131 people who had been negatively affected by the app in some way.
The same media outlet also echoed the sentiments expressed by Acevedo, and questioned the “lack of interest” in the situation shown by the nation’s attorney general. Cristosal’s legal and security chief Zaira Navas was quoted as stating:
“We consider it to be an extremely serious situation. We filed the first complaints [about the app] almost two months ago and, to date, the problems for most of the people for whom we originally lodged complaints are yet to be resolved.”
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