Chivo Kiosk Burnt and Defaced in El Salvador Protests

Reading Time: 2 minutes
  • A Bitcoin Chivo kiosk has been burnt and defaced in El Salvador by protesters
  • The Chivo kiosks are a symbol of the government’s Bitcoin rollout
  • Protests have been taking place since the Bitcoin adoption was mooted in June

A Chivo kiosk has been burnt and defaced in El Salvador as protests against president Nayib Bukele’s rule, and his adoption of Bitcoin as a currency, gathered steam. National news agency Teleprensa posted videos on social media showing one of the fleet of new Chivo kiosks, which are essentially Bitcoin ATMs, burning as journalists and protesters watched on yesterday. It was later defaced with anti-BTC graffiti and a sign saying “democracy is not for sale.” Protests over the way in which Bitcoin has been adopted have been occurring since the plan was first unveiled in the summer, but this incident represents an escalation in events.

Bukele and Bitcoin Protests Turn Violent

This particular protest, which also targeted shops in the Plaza Gerardo Barrios in the center of the capital city, saw San Salvador Mayor Mario Durán pulling city workers out of the area following threats to their safety, although they returned later in the day.

There are around 200 Chivo kiosks in 200 in El Salvador, all of which were affected by a network outage when they opened for business on September 7, with Bukele saying that the kiosks will eventually be “everywhere” in the country.

Chivo Kiosk Symbol of Oppressive Government

The reasons for the protests have focused, in the mainstream media at least, on Bitcoin’s volatility, but as one Reddit user revealed last week, the issues go deeper than that – allegedly the money for the implementation of the Chivo network has been taken from education and health budgets, while the process of awarding the contracts to build the network has been kept classified, suggesting that there could be some corruption involved.