El Salvador has made global headlines with its president's controversial introduction of Bitcoin (BTC) as legal tender — a move that has sparked dissent from many citizens and was met with skepticism by the International Monetary Fund. A new survey suggests that despite these developments, most El Salvadoreans still know little about the veteran cryptocurrency and even less about its smaller-market cap counterparts.
Research conducted by the São Paulo-based agency Sherlock Communications suggests that 54% of Salvadoran respondents chose ‘none’ when asked which cryptocurrency they knew best out of a list of five leading coins.
While 40% chose Bitcoin over the other listed cryptos — Ether (ETH), Bitcoin, Dogecoin (DOGE) and EOS — the survey did not seek to probe the level or depth of the knowledge these respondents have of the coin. In correspondence with Cointelegraph, Patrick O’Neill, director of Sherlock Communications, commented:
“The data we collected from El Salvador made it very clear to us that there are very high levels of confusion regarding cryptocurrency, surprisingly as this may seem, given the circumstance.”
Answers to the survey’s other questions support this picture, with 46% of respondents choosing “none” when asked, “What would make you confident to invest in cryptocurrencies?” Eighteen percent answered that proper regulation would help them to make the leap, with a similar figure (16%) responding that access to more reliable and user-friendly platforms would make the difference.
Asked whether or not a local economic crisis would make them more or less likely to trust crypto, 35% answered “less likely,” and 28% responded that a fiscal downturn would make them “much less likely” to invest in the asset class. Twenty-four percent held the opposite view, saying that an economic downturn would make them more interested in crypto. Again, however, more respondents — 41% — said that a poor economic climate would make no difference to their relationship with crypto.
Rather than outright hostility or enthusiasm, a plurality of the survey’s respondents – 42% – said that recognizing Bitcoin as legal tender was neither a good nor a bad idea. Out of the remaining respondents, 31% in total had a more or less negative view of the move, and 29% more or less positive.
Neutrality or indifference was again marked in answers to a question regarding the state of crypto in the country, now and in the future. Thirty-two percen had no opinion on the matter, with the next largest share of responses identifying with the answer, “It’s a subject that has no future here.”
In recent coverage of citizens' resistance to the government's new Bitcoin law, one resident told reporters that: “We don’t know the currency. We don’t know where it comes from. We don’t know if it’s going to bring us profit or loss. We don’t know anything."