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The finance minister brushed off the criticism and said there was "minimal fiscal risk".

El Zonte is a small surfing and fishing town located on the south coast. An anonymous donor gave a group of fans the first large donation of the digital currency.

The town was able to keep the digital coins if they weren't converted into dollars.

Image caption, El Zonte is still receiving donations of Bitcoin from an unknown benefactor

The idea was to create the world's first circular Bitcoins economy, where people could be paid in the virtual currency and live in it.

The idea is radical. In the rest of the world, it's possible to buy online, but not on the high street.

The shabby but beautiful town of El Zonte has received a significant amount of money from an anonymous donor.

Katerina was a beneficiary.

Image caption, Katerina Contreras was trained as a lifeguard and paid in Bitcoin

She was offered a lifeguard course two years ago, and it was a good deal. The food and transportation were paid for by the organizers.

She says that for six months they worked as lifeguards and were paid in Bitcoins.

Some businesses in the town say they have seen a 30% increase in trade as tourists are drawn to the novelty of spending their digital coins on holidays.

Adoption of the digital currency is still patchy.

My travels led me to conclude that the less likely you are to be able to buy things in the digital currency, the further away you are from the beach.

It's more like a quarter if you drive north 80 minutes to the capital of San Salvadoran.

The government doesn't plan to force businesses to accept the virtual currency. It has only been able to offer incentives.

More than half of Salvadoreans don't have a bank account, but the president has poured $200m of public money into a subsidy app for the virtual currency.

Image source, Bitcoin 2021 / Bitcoin Magazine
Image caption, President Bukele announced plans to make Bitcoin legal tender appearing by video at a Bitcoin conference

It has been downloaded four million times in a country of 6.5 million, because anyone who downloads the app gets $30 in virtual currency for signing up, which is why it has been downloaded so many times.

The app is used for transactions in dollars. It's usually used by people who work abroad and send money home to their families, as there are no transfer fees.

There are indications that people are using Chivo less.

The opening of the country's most advanced animal hospital gave another incentive to use it.

Media caption, Watch animals receiving treatment for 25 cents at the Chivo Pets hospital

People and their pets are waiting in long lines for appointments. All animal care, even complex surgery, costs only 25 cents if you use the Chivo app and pay in Bitcoins.

Government officials didn't answer questions about how the profits of the center were made.

The International Monetary Fund has been urging El Salvador to reverse its decision to makeBitcoin legal tender because it's too unstable for this purpose.

She says the government doesn't have enough money to help vulnerable people so shouldn't be using public funds to invest in cryptocurrencies.

Image caption, President Bukele's Bitcoin purchases charted against the value of Bitcoin according to CoinMarketCap

There is not enough transparency.

We don't know when or how much they have spent on the virtual currency.

The president's decisions are made at the right time. She says that people have a lot of faith in his decisions.

The Central African Republic is the only one that has done it and other countries were thought to be considering it. The president of the country, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, announced the step on the social networking site.

The people of El Salvadoran want to go even further.

The president wants to build a city at the foot of a volcano that will provide energy and power a giant mining site for the virtual currency.

Image caption, President Bukele, in his trademark baseball cap, examines a model of the planned city

The $1 billion of Volcano Bonds were supposed to be on sale in March but have not yet appeared.

They are confident that they will be able to raise the funds and pay the debt.

Pressure is mounting on the government as it continues to bet big on the digital currency.

You can watch the documentary on the News Channel.

  • Bitcoin
  • El Salvador
  • US Dollar (USD)
  • Cryptocurrency