The use of Bitcoin in El Salvador has not had the best of starts. Still, financial institutions are already doing their best to comply with the law.
Bancoagrícola, the country’s largest financial institution, is among the first banks to include Bitcoin-compatible technology solutions and is already adapting its infrastructure to offer Bitcoin services thanks to a partnership with digital payments startup Flexa.
Bancoargícola and Flexa Partner to Bring Bitcoin to the Banks
According to an official Press Release shared by Flexa, the integration of both parties will allow Salvadorans to use basic banking services regardless of whether they choose Bitcoin or dollars.
The startup mentioned that Bancoagrícola began supporting Bitcoin for loans, credit cards, and merchant goods and services in an attempt to comply with the Bitcoin Law as soon as possible.
The Bitcoin Law, introduced by President Bukele in June and approved a few hours later by the country’s pro-Bukele congress, stipulates that Bitcoin will be recognized as a legal tender, being of mandatory acceptance by any economic agent with the minimal means necessary to use it.
Since Bitcoin operates outside the banking structure, the government created the Chivo wallet and airdropped $30 in BTC to all Salvadorans who download it. The Chivo wallet is custodial, does not depend directly on any bank, and allows immediate and allegedly zero-fee exchange between Bitcoin and dollars.
But Bancoagrícola would be going a step further from the point of view of integrated financial services. The partnership will even serve to offer Bitcoin compatibility at Bancoagrícola’s points of sale without the need to use the Chivo Wallet.
Banks in El Salvador Are Not The Only Ones Innovating
Bancoagrícola is a subsidiary of Bancolombia, Colombia’s leading bank. In that country, Bancolombia is working on an integration with US-regulated cryptocurrency exchange Gemini to offer similar services thanks to the regulatory sandbox currently in place since 2019.
The integration with Flexa would be a unique innovation worldwide. Carlos Mauricio Novoa, COO of Bancoagrícola, said they are excited about the future prospects and hope to continue improving their services in this new economic stage that is beginning in the country.
“We are excited to be the first financial institution in El Salvador to enable bitcoin access for our customers across our entire suite of financial products and to enhance financial inclusion. Flexa has been instrumental in helping us prioritize our customers’ experiences using bitcoin as legal tender in El Salvador; we look forward to continuing to innovate alongside them for a long time to come.”
Thanks to this solution, Salvadorans would have full Bitcoin-to-fiat compatibility even if they use a third party wallet besides the government-sponsored Chivo wallet.