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22 January 2024
Research: 12% of Salvadorans Use Bitcoin for Purchases

According to the Central American University named after Jose Simeon Canas in El Salvador, 12% of the country’s residents have used Bitcoin at least once to pay for goods and services during the year 2023. This annual survey was conducted among 1280 Salvadoran citizens in December 2023. Among those who used Bitcoin for purchases in the past year, the majority (49.7%) did so only one to three times, while 20% used the cryptocurrency more than ten times. The majority of Bitcoin expenditures were concentrated in small grocery stores (22.9%), supermarkets (20.9%), and veterinary clinics (15%).

The number of Salvadorans who believe that the legalization of Bitcoin has improved their family’s life slightly increased from 3% in 2022 to 6.8% in 2023. However, over a third of survey participants (34.3%) believe that the overall economic situation in the country has improved over the past year, mainly due to a decrease in crime rates (24.3%). Only 0.5% of Salvadorans attribute the improvement in the economy to the use of Bitcoin as a means of payment.

It should be noted that the number of Salvadorans using Bitcoin has actually decreased. In 2022, a similar study was conducted, showing that 24.4% of the population used Bitcoin, which is roughly twice as much compared to the current 12%. The 2022 study did not inquire about whether the Salvadoran government is investing in Bitcoin, as 77.1% of respondents then expressed support for ceasing such investments of state funds in cryptocurrency. Previously, Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele claimed that recognizing Bitcoin as legal tender in the country reduced crime rates and increased tourism income.