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El Salvador is planning to make Bitcoin legal tender for the first time next week. Nonetheless, it appears that not everyone in the country is on board with the proposal. In fact, according to a new research, 70% of El Salvadorans oppose the Bitcoin law, which goes into force on September 7.
A poll conducted by Central American University (UCA) surveyed 1,281 people in the country. It found that 2 out of 3 people think that the Bitcoin law, which has been furiously promoted by President Bukele as a measure to fight inflation, should be repealed.
This, however, comes as no surprise since 90% of those surveyed also admitted to having little to no knowledge of the cryptocurrency. While 20% of Salvadorans “openly state that they do not know what a Bitcoin is,” a further 70% confess to having a poor understanding of cryptocurrencies.
Even if President Bukele’s vision is to improve the country’s struggling economy through the digital asset, many El Salvadorians believe it’ll do quite the opposite.
45% of those polled believe that poverty and unemployment are the nation’s two most pressing problems. A further 43% believe that the economy and these issues will only worsen when the Bitcoin Law is passed. Despite a steady decline over the decades, 22.8% of the country’s population still lives below the poverty line, according to the World Bank.
There appears to be minimal interest in cryptocurrencies or the recently launched Chivo wallet. This is despite the fact that $30 in BTC has been airdropped to all users for free. While 65% of respondents said they are not interested in utilising the wallet, an overwhelming 96% believe Bitcoin use should be entirely voluntary.
Furthermore, 6 out of 10 respondents opposed or strongly disagreed with the government’s choice to spend public funds to promote the usage of Bitcoin in the country.
Many people also agreed that, rather than assisting the poor and unemployed, this bill will primarily benefit wealthy citizens and foreigners.
While the sample size of the survey is undeniably tiny, it does reflect the general opinion of individuals residing in the country. Protests against the new law have erupted in El Salvador’s streets, as many people are sceptical of cryptocurrency. On September 2, hundreds of people marched to the streets in solidarity with unions and social organisations to protest the bill.
Because of the anonymity of transactions, many of them feel it will exacerbate the already endemic corruption within the country’s boundaries. In reality, the IMF had previously issued a veiled warning to the country about everything that could go wrong. What’s more, the World Bank will not assist El Salvador’s Bitcoin implementation due to environmental concerns, among others.