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LATIN AMERICA | 11-01-2024 13:10

Bitcoin a dud in El Salvador, first country to make it legal tender

A poll released Wednesday showed that 88% of El Salvadorans did not use bitcoin last year in El Salvador, the first country anywhere to make the cryptocurrency a form of legal tender.

Despite being listed as a legal tender currency since 2021, 88 percent of Saladorans did not use Bitcoin in 2023, a survey by the private Central American University showed.

Faced with the question, "in the year 2023 have you ever used bitcoin to buy or pay for something, or haven't used it?" some 85 percent of respondents said they didn't use it, three percent never used it and 12 percent said they did.

With a margin of error of 2.7 percent and consulting 1,280 randomly selected participants, the survey showed that 77.8 percent of the population believes their family economics “have remained the same” with Bitcoin. Just under seven percent of participants said it has improved, 8.4 percent said it has worsened and seven percent did not respond.

On September 7, 2021, President Nayib Bukele's government moved to make El Salvador became the first country in the world to legally circulate Bitcoin, the world's leading cryptocurrency, alongside the US dollar, which was established in 2001 as legal tender.

With Bitcoin, Bukele was trying to get remittances from abroad to flow at a lower cost and help Salvadorans, 70 percent of whom are outside the financial system, start banking.

Without disclosing the amount invested, the Salvadoran government publicly stated that it has bought 2,381 bitcoins. The last purchase was made on July 1, 2022, when the government acquired 80 bitcoins.

On Tuesday, Bitcoin reached its highest value in 22 months, at US$47,914 per unit, following what ended up being a false publication attributed to the US stock exchange authorities (SEC) on the social network X, formerly Twitter, announcing the approval of ETFs (Exchange Traded Fund) in bitcoins.

This Wednesday, the SEC authorised the first investment fund associated with bitcoin, a decision considered a fundamental step for cryptocurrencies to be adopted.

 

- TIMES/AFP

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