Survey: Over 71% of Salvadorans say bitcoin law has not benefited them

El Salvador postpones Bitcoin bond offering for a second time

El Salvador’s decision last year to adopt bitcoin as legal tender was an innovative and arguably revolutionary act.

President Nayib Bukele’s decision to put the world’s first and largest cryptocurrency on the same legal standing as the global reserve currency, the US dollar, took commentators and financial organisations by surprise. 

In recent months, bodies from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to the US Senate have criticised the decision and recommended that the Central American nation reverse course. 

To the former, El Salvador’s treasury minister Alejandro Zelaya stressed: “No international organisation is going to make us do anything, anything at all.”

Meawnile, President Bukele warned the latter: “We are not your colony, your back yard or your front yard. Stay out of our internal affairs. Don’t try to control something you can’t control.”

Survey results

Although Salvadoran politicians have remained resolute in their long-term belief in bitcoin, despite international pressure and recent price corrections, the attitude of Salvadorans can be said to be much more mixed. 

According to a recent survey of popular opinion undertaken by the University Institute of Public Opinion of the José Simeón Cañas Central American University, only 6.1% of Salvadorans believed that the adoption of bitcoin as legal tender had brought a lot of benefits for them. 

Of the 1,272 citizens polled, only 8.9% believed that the law had brought some benefit to their personal finances, while 12.8% of respondents thought it had brought a few benefits. 

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The vast majority, 71.1% of those surveyed, said that the adoption had brought no benefits for them at all. 

This latest poll echoed another recent survey of 1,306 Salvadorans by the Center for Citizen Studies of the Francisco Gavidia University, in which 62.3% of respondents disagreed with the bitcoin law. 

Despite El Salvador’s bitcoin investments having lost as much as 45% of their value in recent months, and the credit ratings agency Fitch downgrading the nation’s long-term foreign currency issuer default rating (IDR) to CCC, President Bukele remains popular. 

In the José Simeón Cañas study, 68% of respondents said that the government has been managing well. 

Bitcoin bond postponed

In a sign that Bukele’s commitment to a bitcoin-dominated future has not completely blinkered him from current realities, El Salvador postponed its much-anticipated Bitcoin bond issue at the end of last week. 

The bond issue is intended to generate enough capital to build a ‘Bitcoin City’, replete with geothermal bitcoin mining facilities. 

Finance minister Zelaya attributed the decision to delay for a second time to the current price of bitcoin, the war in Ukraine and wider stock market uncertainty.

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