The Arrival of Bitcoin in El Salvador as a National Currency Worries the Population

El Salvador, a small country in Central America, where the current legal tender is the dollar. From September 7, bitcoin, the most famous cryptocurrency, will be legal tender by its side.

On paper, the measure only has advantages for Salvadorans. Money transfers in bitcoin cost almost nothing, the currency can be used with a simple smartphone, and above all the State has set up a fund of 150 million dollars, in order to offer all citizens who will open an electronic wallet, a bonus equivalent to 30 dollars.

For President Bukele, the announcement made in June of wanting to formalize bitcoin as a national currency alongside the US dollar, strengthens his image as a young, connected and tech-savvy president.

Yet in a few weeks, the population has gone from euphoria to skepticism. A series of polls carried out in August shows that nearly 70% of the population is not in favor of the formalization of bitcoin and does not want to use it.

Mistrust is strong, because Salvadorans fear the fluctuations that cryptocurrency is experiencing and their consequences for their wallet. Several hundred protesters last week called for the repeal of the bitcoin law, while the military has since protected the 200 or so ATMs being deployed that will allow the cryptocurrency to be used. And traders, businesses and individuals will no longer be able to refuse to be paid in bitcoin.

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