El Salvador's experiment using bitcoin as legal tender had a rocky start, as its price crashed on its first day as legal tender, while the rollout was hampered by technical glitches.

The cryptocurrency plunged as much as 17 percent, to its lowest level in a month, before paring losses, amid news that the government disconnected its bitcoin wallet early on Tuesday to fix problems and announced it was running tests to make the currency available for download later in the day. El Salvador President Nayib Bukele said his country had taken advantage of the crash to "buy the dip," adding 150 coins to take its total holding to 550, worth about $26 million. The Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index, which tracks some of the largest cryptos, lost as much as 19 percent, while other smaller digital assets were also sold off.

El Salvador's plan represents the biggest test for bitcoin in its 12-year history. Both enthusiasts and detractors of crytocurrencies are monitoring the experiment to see whether a significant number of people want to transact with bitcoin when it circulates alongside the U.S. dollar, and whether it brings any benefits to the violent, impoverished Central American nation.

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