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El Salvador buys $21 million in Bitcoin as crypto law kicks in

People with a national ID can sign up for a new wallet app.

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Rae Hodge Former senior editor
Rae Hodge was a senior editor at CNET. She led CNET's coverage of privacy and cybersecurity tools from July 2019 to January 2023. As a data-driven investigative journalist on the software and services team, she reviewed VPNs, password managers, antivirus software, anti-surveillance methods and ethics in tech. Prior to joining CNET in 2019, Rae spent nearly a decade covering politics and protests for the AP, NPR, the BBC and other local and international outlets.
Rae Hodge
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Angela Lang/CNET

El Salvador purchased about $21 million worth of Bitcoin on Monday. The crypto purchase comes as a new law, passed in June, took effect Tuesday, allowing residents to use the cryptocurrency as legal tender. 

Salvadorans can now also use their national IDs to sign up for a new cryptocurrency wallet app called Chivo which comes with $30 worth of Bitcoin as part of a government effort to drive adoption of the currency. 

President Nayib Bukele announced the country's 400-Bitcoin purchase -- worth $20.9 million -- in a series of tweets Monday. 

The first country to adopt Bitcoin as a national legal tender, El Salvador is just one among several political entities that have made recent moves toward wider legal cryptocurrency adoption. Cities and municipalities in Canada, Switzerland, China and the US have also embraced digital cash through a range of limited legal payment options and pilot projects