On September 7, Bitcoin became legal tender in El Salvador, but what do citizens think about it?
Extremely different opinions
El Salvador becoming a country that accepts Bitcoin as legal tender has put itself and its citizens on an experiment. Most Salvadorans recognize this fact and are eager to express their opinions about it.
As early as September 7, one could find statements on Twitter from the local community praising the government’s move. A popular statement was that “El Salvador is taking a step forward. This is undoubtedly true. No country in the world has yet fully embraced such advanced technology as Bitcoin. Attention is also drawn to the money Salvadorans will save by the lower cost of foreign transfers.
However, there is also a fair share of negative aspects, the overtones of which are equally strong. On September 7, a group of citizens numbering about a thousand organized a protest against Bitcoin in the capital San Salvador. Tires were burned outside the Supreme Court and fireworks were set off.
Reuters news agency reached out to small business owners who say that “with or without Bitcoin, they will continue to suffer.” These words refer to the issue of difficulty in opening a bank account in the country. Nearly 70% of the population has trouble in this matter. In contrast, nearly half of the population struggles to access the internet, with the remainder largely having limited access. Without the internet, the ability to obtain Bitcoin is virtually impossible.
After the new law was approved, Francisco Gavidia University did a survey of Salvadoran citizens. In it, 54% of those surveyed said that the adoption of Bitcoin was out of place.24% of those surveyed, on the other hand, described the decision as relatively correct. 46% of the respondents surveyed showed no knowledge of Bitcoin, and 65% would not be open to being paid in the cryptocurrency.
Market observers point out that much of the negative feedback may have to do with the notorious reputation of President Nayib Bukele. He was the mastermind behind the introduction of Bitcoin as legal tender in El Salvador. However, he is also known for recently taking control of the local prosecutor’s office and the Supreme Court. He was also given the green light for a second term in office, which is against El Salvador’s constitution. Surrounded by such actions, the introduction of Bitcoin is entitled to be met with negative reactions and considerable skepticism.