The government of El Salvador is relying on AlphaPoint’s financial infrastructure to run (and secure) its national cryptocurrency scheme. El Salvador is the first country to recognize Bitcoin as a state-supported legal tender, and launched the Chivo wallet in September to facilitate Bitcoin transactions for the general public.
AlphaPoint is providing both the frontend and backend white label infrastructure needed to maintain the system, and has helped El Salvador integrate that infrastructure with the hardware and software delivered to merchants and individual end users. That includes the Chivo mobile application, as well as point-of-sale processing hardware and a merchant portal and administrative console. The system also covers a call center software service.
On the security front, AlphaPoint’s platform utilizes facial recognition for identity verification, and for authentication during certain interactions. Bitcoin transactions with Chivo are completed with QR codes and Lightning addresses.
El Salvador is hoping that AlphaPoint’s technology will allow Chivo to scale and make it a stable and inclusive financial platform for the entire country. The wallet is free (with zero commissions) for all citizens of El Salvador, and the government has seeded each citizen’s Chivo account with $30 worth of Bitcoin to encourage Bitcoin spending.
Chivo can already be used at airports and government offices, in addition to major retail outlets like McDonalds, Starbucks, and Walmart. In the future, El Salvador plans to build a network of Bitcoin ATMS, and to allow residents to pay taxes and utility bills with the cryptocurrency.
“El Salvador and President Bukele are leading globally with this first major experiment in Bitcoin adoption at a country-wide level,” said AlphaPoint Co-Founder and CEO Igor Telyatnikov. “No one else has attempted to execute a project of this size. We are honored to be involved in the process and provide the scalable and reliable solutions needed for this massive undertaking.”
According to AlphaPoint, Chivo is currently being used to complete millions of transactions on a monthly basis. The company is not the only cryptocurrency specialist that has deployed facial biometrics in its authentication process. The LocalBitcoins exchange is one of several that have partnered with Onfido, while Trulioo recently provided Global Gateway services for multiple stakeholders in the cryptocurrency space.