dsf El Salvador will be the first country in the world to introduce, on September 7, bitcoin as an official cryptocurrency convertible to legal tender with the US dollar. And 200 ATMs, currently being installed, will allow bitcoins to be exchanged for dollars. But two polls – and some demonstrations – show strong opposition to this “Bitcoin Law” voted on June 9 by the Assembly.
In less than a week, on September 7, bitcoin will be an official cryptocurrency in El Salvador. But this decision by President Nayib Bukele raises a national outcry according to two polls published on Thursday, and mostly arouses mistrust.
Introducing the poll, the rector of the prestigious university, Andreu Oliva, made this comment:
In less than a week, on September 7, bitcoin will be an official cryptocurrency in El Salvador. But this decision by President Nayib Bukele is raising a national outcry according to two polls released Thursday, and is overwhelmingly met with distrust.
"About seven out of ten Salvadorans said they disagree, or very much disagree," said the Jesuit University UCA, which conducted one of these polls between August 13 and 20 among 1,281 people, with a margin of error of 2.7%.
In presenting the poll, the rector of the prestigious university, Andreu Oliva, commented:
"82.8% (of Salvadorans) have no confidence or little confidence in bitcoin, and 95.9%, an extremely high rate, almost unanimous, believe that the use of bitcoin must be voluntary," commented
The second poll, conducted by the daily Prensa Grafica, showed that 65.7% of those surveyed little or no agreement with this “legalization” of bitcoin. According to Courrier International, “The Graphic Press was founded in 1915 and still belongs to the Dutriz family group. It is the most widely read newspaper in the country, and a reference title for all of Central America.”
An alternative to the dollar to boost the country?
The Salvadoran parliament, overwhelmingly dominated by supporters of President Bukele, passed the law in June that will make bitcoin a legal tender in El Salvador. A week before it went into effect, several hundred people demonstrated Wednesday in the capital to call on Parliament to repeal it.
This measure, according to the head of state, will boost the country’s economy, which has been dollarized for twenty years. For Nayib Bukele, a former businessman, the introduction of bitcoin will generate jobs and “allow financial inclusion to thousands of people who are outside the legal economy” specifying that “70% of the population has no bank account and works in the informal economy.
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Guarantee fund to ensure convertibility
Continuing the implementation of the reform, the Parliament approved on Tuesday, at the request of the immensely popular President Bukele, the creation of a $150 million fund to guarantee the automatic convertibility of bitcoin into US dollars.
The authorities are preparing to activate an application called “Chivo” (“Super” in colloquial language) that will allow people to make payments or transfers in bitcoin. Users will be rewarded with a bonus equivalent to $30 in bitcoin when they sign up for the application.
ATMs to exchange bitcoin for dollars
In addition, 200 vending machines to exchange bitcoin are being installed.
According to the UCA survey, 65.2% of Salvadorans do not want to download the app and are opposed to paying the $30 premium from public funds. Similarly, 71.2% of those surveyed by the Jesuit university intend to continue using the U.S. dollar exclusively, El Salvador’s only legal currency for the past 20 years. 23.1% think they will use both the dollar and bitcoin indifferently, while only 3.7% declared their intention to use bitcoin exclusively.