The arrival of Bitcoin to El Salvador as a national currency raises concern for the population

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It is a real revolution. For the first time, the country recognizes cryptocurrency as an official currency. This is El Salvador, a small country in Central America, where the current legal currency is the dollar. As of September 7, Bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency, will be legal tender on its part.

On paper, this procedure has advantages only for Salvadorans. Bitcoin remittances cost almost nothing, the currency can be used with a simple smartphone, and above all, the state has created a fund of $150 million, in order to offer a reward to all citizens who open an electronic wallet, a reward equivalent to $30.

For President Bukele, the announcement made in June wants Formalization of Bitcoin As a national currency alongside the US dollar, it cements its image as a young, communicative, and tech-savvy president.

strong distrust

But within a few weeks, residents went from euphoria to skepticism. A series of polls conducted in August showed that nearly 70% of the population did not support the formalization of bitcoin and did not want to use it.

The mistrust is strong, as Salvadorans fear the volatility of the cryptocurrency and its consequences for their wallet. Several hundred protesters last week called for the bitcoin law to be repealed, while the military has since protected 200 or so deploying ATMs that will allow the cryptocurrency to be used. Merchants, businesses and individuals will no longer be able to refuse to pay in Bitcoin.

Veterans of the Salvadoran army and guerrillas marched through the streets of San Salvador on August 27, 2021 to protest specifically the arrival of bitcoin as the country’s official currency. Marvin Recinos/AFP


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