| 5 March 2024, Tuesday |

El Salvador body to investigate complaints about government’s bitcoin purchases, ATM kiosks

According to a document seen by Reuters, El Salvador’s Court of Accounts, which monitors the country’s public resources, will look into a complaint concerning the government’s bitcoin purchases and the development of cryptocurrency ATM kiosks.

El Salvador became the first government in the world to recognize bitcoin as legal cash earlier this month, a move championed by President Nayib Bukele.

The government has also established Chivo, a digital wallet that is linked to freshly constructed cryptocurrency cash machines, allowing users to withdraw physical money from their digital bitcoin holdings. Its rollout has been marred by problems.

The Court of Accounts, which can impose administrative and asset sanctions against officials who cannot solve shortcomings, said it received a complaint on Sept. 10 from a regional human rights and transparency organization, Cristosal, about bitcoin implementation in El Salvador.

Cristosal requested an audit of the authorization processes for the purchase of bitcoins and to review the construction of the booths used for the ATMs linked to the digital wallet of Chivo, a company established with public resources.

Cristosal’s complaint was against six members of the Board of Directors of the Bitcóin Trust, consisting of members of the Finance and Economy ministries, as well as the secretariat of Commerce and Investments.

In an official document accessed by Reuters, the Court of Accounts stated, “Having admitted the complaint, it will proceed to carry out the legal analysis report and, in a timely manner, transmit such report to the General Audit Coordination.”

The complaint has been accepted, according to a Cristosal officer who was not authorized to speak about the case.

In addition to punishing officials, the Court of Accounts has the authority to issue notices to the Attorney General’s Office, requesting that criminal proceedings be initiated if violations are discovered during their investigations.

The government of President Bukele did not react to a request for comment right away.

  • Reuters