Almost 80% of El Salvador’s people believe Bitcoin adoption was a failure

More than a year after a nationwide crypto experiment, about 77% of Salvadorans say that president Nayib Bukele "should not continue to spend public money to buy Bitcoin."

El Salvador and Bitcoin painted flags on a wall with a crack - stock photo.

According to the research conducted by the University of Central America (UCA), most people in the smallest Central American nation are underwhelmed with the president’s Bitcoin push. The poll suggests that adoption rates remain low as the controversial policy remains unpopular among most residents.

Bitcoin, which saw its price drop from the $69k historical peak in November 2021 to the current $19-20k, "is the government's most unpopular measure, the most criticized and the most frowned upon," said UCA rector Andreu Oliva, commenting on the findings.

According to the poll, 75.6 percent of citizens haven’t used cryptocurrencies in 2022 despite the government’s efforts to popularize domestic crypto payments. Moreover, only two percent of cross-border remittances from emigrants involved cryptocurrencies, much to the disappointment of Bukele’s administration who hoped to boost El Salvador’s economy by saving on bank fees — transfers from Salvadorans leaving overseas make up more than a quarter of the country’s GDP.

The survey also found that 77 percent of Salvadorans perceive Bitcoin adoption as a legal tender to be a failure, while the same proportion of respondents believes that Bukele should stop buying the dip.

In July, Bukele bought an additional 80 bitcoins, bringing the country’s total reserves to 2,381 BTC. Still, El Salvador’s unrealized paper loss on crypto amounts to around $60 million.

On the other hand, Bitcoin Law seems to have revitalized the tourism industry, which is up 30 percent since the policy took effect, with around 60 percent of tourists coming from the US. The president’s approval rating stays high at 75.9 percent, mostly due to his commitment to eradicating violent crime, which led to the arrest of 55,000 suspected members of mara gangs.