El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele has gained a record approval rate of 91% in a recent survey by La Prensa Grafica, a leading daily newspaper. Bukele, a strong supporter of Bitcoin, has been in power since June 2019 and is known for his efforts to improve the country’s infrastructure, healthcare, and education. The younger generations and individuals with middle economic status are the most satisfied with his administration, according to the survey.
The survey showed that Bukele’s efforts in handling the COVID-19 pandemic, improving the health sector, building the country’s highway infrastructure, and enforcing reforms in education were some of his best achievements over the past years. However, his push for the adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender within the country’s borders has faced opposition from some Salvadorans who believe that it has caused an increase in the price of goods and services and unemployment.
Despite this, the adoption of Bitcoin has also brought some benefits to El Salvador, such as boosting the tourism industry. Minister of Tourism Morena Valdez said last year that the sector had increased by over 30% in the first months after the Bitcoin adoption. Recently, President Bukele revealed that the country has become even more attractive to travelers, with tourism surging by 95%. Bukele claimed that the multiple Bitcoin forays introduced by El Salvador are one factor behind the surge.
President Bukele stated that opening arms towards Bitcoin has also attracted private investments to El Salvador. Since hopping on the Bitcoin bandwagon, the country has received “a lot of private investments,” according to Bukele. Additionally, the adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender has made it easier for Salvadorans living abroad to send money back home, as Bitcoin transactions are faster and cheaper than traditional methods.
While some Salvadorans remain opposed to Bitcoin, others are embracing the technology. Additionally, some experts believe that the adoption of bitcoin as a legal tender could potentially offer financial freedom to Salvadorans who do not have access to traditional banking services. According to a World Bank report, only 30% of adults in the country have a bank account. Bitcoin could enable people to participate in the global economy and transact without intermediaries, making it a promising tool for financial inclusion.
However, there are also concerns about the practicality of using bitcoin in daily transactions, given its volatility and the technical know-how required to handle digital assets. Furthermore, there are worries that the government’s move to embrace bitcoin could have unintended consequences, such as attracting criminal activity and money laundering.
Despite the mixed reactions to El Salvador’s bitcoin adoption, President Bukele seems committed to his vision of creating a more prosperous and innovative country. His willingness to experiment with new ideas and embrace technology could position El Salvador as a leader in the digital economy in the region. Only time will tell whether his strategy pays off and whether bitcoin becomes a success story or a cautionary tale in the country’s history.