Big Salvadoran majority skeptical of bitcoin as standard currency

A representation of virtual currency Bitcoin is seen in front of a stock graph
A representation of virtual currency Bitcoin is seen in front of a stock graph in this illustration taken March 15, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

SAN SALVADOR, July 8 (Reuters) - In a snub to El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele, more than three-quarters of Salvadorans are skeptical of the maverick leader's push to adopt the cryptocurrency bitcoin as parallel legal tender, according to a poll released on Thursday.

In a first for bitcoin last month, Bukele's allies in Congress approved legislation giving it official currency status in the small Central American nation, a move no other country has taken. Bukele has touted bitcoin adoption as a way to facilitate remittance payments from Salvadorans living abroad.

El Salvador for years has used the U.S. dollar as its national currency.

Conducted by pollster Disruptiva, which is affiliated with Francisco Gavidia University, the survey showed that about 54% of people viewed the bitcoin adoption as "not at all correct" while another 24% described it as "only a little correct."

Not quite 20% approved of the cryptocurrency plan.

The poll surveyed 1,233 people across El Salvador between July 1-4 and features a margin of error of 2.8%.

"This is a risky bet on digital transformation," said Oscar Picardo, head of Disruptiva's institute of science, technology and innovation, at an event presenting the results of the survey.

The poll also showed that 46% of respondents knew "nothing" about bitcoin, while nearly 65% said they would not be open to being paid in the cryptocurrency.

Reporting by Nelson Renteria; Writing by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Sandra Maler

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