More than 3.500 people attended Labitconf 2021 in El Salvador, and a crypto revolution is taking place at the same time as the market resumes the events schedule.
Since September 7, 2021, El Salvador has declared bitcoin a legal tender. As a result, alongside the dollar, Salvadorans have started using the cryptoasset daily, bustling the local economy.
While the Salvadoran population is trying to get used to the novelty, hundreds of experts and enthusiasts were in the country following Labitconf 2021, which ended on Saturday (20).
However, it seems that bitcoin adoption in the country will still face several challenges, as Transfero’s director of products and partnerships, Safiri Felix, explains. Although bitcoin is on display on posters on the street, the population is wary about the benefits and risks involved.
Dollar instead of bitcoin
Many prefer to use the dollar instead of bitcoin, for the convenience of the American currency that has been part of the local economy since 2001. With less than three months of bitcoin adoption, there are still big challenges for a better acceptance by the population.
“The population already knows that it (bitcoin) is available, but what we have noticed is that the adhesion is still not too extensive. Being a relatively recent experiment, the common citizen still feels comfortable using bitcoin as a payment method. A lot of distrust is still noticed”.
“(There are) criticisms about how the (adoption) process was implemented. In the general assessment of the locals, it was a swift process without having educated people beforehand”.
Unstable Internet and lack of information
The feeling is one of insecurity for the majority of the population, who still do not know how to operate bitcoin. Even with the government creating a wallet to distribute US$ 30 in bitcoin for free, the adoption of digital currency still faces the challenge of misinformation.
“People feel insecure because they are uninformed. How does it work, what are the limitations, and what are the risks? For example, I heard a lot of criticism about the activation of Chivo Wallet, the wallet developed by the government”.
The Salvadoran population continues to prefer the dollar to bitcoin for their everyday transactions, and it will continue to coexist with the cryptoasset that arrived ‘yesterday’ in El Salvador.
In addition to all these hurdles to the adoption of the digital currency in the country, there is a big problem with the instability of the internet in El Salvador. To keep bitcoin as a currency for everyday use, this could be another “bottleneck” for cryptoasset, says Safiri Felix.
“Overall, the population did not like the idea of using bitcoin on a day-to-day basis, and the dollar remains the currency of choice. The general perception is that ‘the dollar suits me well, so I don’t see the advantage in trading the dollar for bitcoin’. Another bottleneck is the issue of the country’s technological infrastructure. The internet network is quite unstable, so this also ends up affecting a little bit in the way transactions are processed”.