Source: Adobe/PixieMeAs bitcoin (BTC) today becomes legal tender in El Salvador, crypto community members, economists and industry insiders are divided in their views on how the new law will impact real-world adoption of the cryptocurrency in the country.

Discussions on the prospects of bitcoin in El Salvador caught on in the community after George Selgin, a fellow at the Cato Institute think tank and author of several books on money and banking, shared his skepticism about the issue.

Among the many things, Selgin took aim at the popular notion that nearly everyone in El Salvador will benefit from the USD 30 that the government says will be given away to every citizen who downloads the government’s own Chivo wallet.

To this point, Selgin claimed the real number of people who will benefit is indeed less than 50% of the population, given the country’s low internet penetration rates as well as demographics.

However, community members quickly came out in defense of the government-initiated airdrop, with popular bitcoiner and Chief Strategy Officer at the Human Rights Foundation, Alex Gladstein, claiming that far more than 50% of El Salvadorans are internet users:

“According to January 2021 data, 66.1% of Salvadorans use social media, and there are 1.47 cellphones for every person in the country,” Gladstein wrote.

Further, Selgin, who calls himself a monetary economist and historian, also took aim at the fact that the government-developed Chivo mobile wallet is indeed a custodial wallet where the El Salvadoran government is the custodian, contrary to bitcoin’s philosophy of self-custody and self-sovereignty. 

“To me, a custodial cryptocurrency
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