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El Salvador Witnesses Shifting Bitcoin Dynamics

Bitcoin Adoption in El Salvador Declines as Public Sentiment Shifts

Jan 17, 2024
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Survey highlights varied perspectives on Bitcoin’s impact, family life improvements, and public dissatisfaction with government's Bitcoin investments.

In 2023, El Salvador saw a significant decrease in Bitcoin usage, with 12% of the population using the cryptocurrency for transactions, data comes from an annual survey by José Simeón Cañas Central American University reveals.

The survey, which polled 1,280 individuals in December 2023, highlights a decrease in Bitcoin adoption compared to the previous year, falling from 24.4% in 2022 to 12% in 2023. Nearly half of the respondents (49.7%) used Bitcoin one to three times for transactions, while 20% used it more frequently, conducting ten or more transactions. The most common areas of Bitcoin expenditure were groceries (22.9%) and supermarkets (20.9%), with veterinary clinics (15%) following closely behind.

Despite the drop in Bitcoin transactions, the survey noted an increase in the belief that family life improved due to Bitcoin becoming legal tender. This belief rose from 3% in 2022 to 6.8% in 2023, suggesting a growing link between Bitcoin’s integration into the economy and perceived improvements in Salvadorans’ daily lives. Interestingly, over a third of respondents (34.3%) felt that the country’s overall economic situation improved, primarily attributing this improvement to a decrease in crime (24.3%).

However, only 0.5% of Salvadorans associate Bitcoin with economic enhancement. The survey, spanning 45 pages, did not include questions about the Salvadoran government’s Bitcoin investments, leading to questions about public awareness and understanding of such initiatives. This omission is significant, especially considering the “Nayib Bukele Portfolio Tracker” shows the government’s BTC portfolio has yielded approximately 0.57% in profit. Despite this financial gain, a large portion of the population seems unhappy with the government’s use of public funds for Bitcoin.

The survey results present a complex view of Bitcoin’s impact on the Salvadoran economy. While some see positive changes in family life and the overall economic situation, many remain skeptical about the link between Bitcoin and these improvements. The decrease in Bitcoin usage suggests a potential reassessment of the cryptocurrency’s role in everyday transactions among Salvadorans. Public opinion on the government’s involvement with Bitcoin is divided, with 77.1% expressing a desire for the government to stop “spending public money on Bitcoin.”

As the Salvadoran government continues its Bitcoin-related initiatives, these survey results offer important insights into the changing relationship between the population, Bitcoin adoption, and government decisions. The survey indicates a need for greater transparency and communication to address public concerns and ensure a more informed and inclusive approach to cryptocurrency policies in El Salvador.

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