A few days before the small Central American country introduces Bítcoin as an official means of payment on September 7, there is violent protest against this move.
As if from a new one study According to the opinion polling institute of the Central American University UCA, a full 70% of Salvadorans reject President Nayib Bukele’s plans to introduce Bitcoin.
However, 90% of those surveyed state that they know little about the market-leading cryptocurrency.
Bad economy overshadows Bitcoin
The rejection of the new Bitcoin law is primarily related to concerns about the poor economic situation in the country.
45% of the citizens surveyed say that they see poverty and unemployment as the two biggest problems in El Salvador. 43%, on the other hand, fear that the economic situation will worsen again with the introduction of Bitcoin.
According to World Bank data, 22.8% of El Salvador’s population live below the poverty line. The average annual income in the country is accordingly only 3,800 US dollars. More than two thirds assume that not even an increase in the minimum wage will be enough to noticeably improve the economic situation.
The survey also shows that 20% of Salvadorans openly state that they “do not know what Bitcoin is”. 70% rate their knowledge of the cryptocurrency as poor. Because of this, pollsters conclude:
“In other words: 9 out of 10 Salvadorans don’t even know what this financial product is.”
The new survey results coincide with a study from July, in which only 20% of those questioned supported the introduction of Bitcoin.
Bukele is promoting Bitcoin
The only positive news from the current survey is that the number of citizens with “no knowledge” about Bitcoin has halved since July, as 46% said this was back then. The government’s communication efforts may have been at least partially successful.
On August 30th, President Bukele posted the first Bitcoin commercial on Twitter posted, in which the government explains how the state-owned crypto wallet called “Chivo” can be used to make payments.
The following day, Bukele then shared pictures of the first Bitcoin ATMs, which are to be gradually installed all over the small country. 50 ATMs should be ready by September 7th. As the government calculates, the introduction of Bitcoin should save the population 400 million US dollars in transaction costs for remittances.
Los puntos Chivo ayudarán a que la población pueda utilizar @chivowallet.
Esto les dará libertad y seguridad financiera, aparte de recibir beneficios, entre ellos el ahorro de 400 million de dólares al año en comisiones para enviar y recibir remesas.#Bitcoin #PuntosChivo pic.twitter.com/BtVrKiK5eZ
– Nayib Bukele (@nayibbukele) August 31, 2021
To boost support for Bitcoin, the government had previously started a fundraising campaign to raise money for poor Salvadorans. With “Bitcoin Smiles” at least 1.02 BTC (just under $ 50,000) for much-needed dental work.
Despite these efforts, the rejection in El Salvador is still close to the start of Bitcoin. Trade unions and social institutions even called for a demonstration against the introduction on September 2nd (see below).
Sindicatos y organizaciones sociales se pronuncian en contra del Bitcóin, en las afueras del Centro Cultural Cívico Legislativo. pic.twitter.com/C9ftS6OfCD
– LPGPolitica (@LPGPolitica) September 1, 2021