Nearly 70% of citizens in El Salvador disagree to use Bitcoin as legal currency

El Salvador will become the first country in the world to recognize Bitcoin as legal tender from 7 September.

The government has presented the measure as a way to boost economic development and jobs.

Polls suggest Salvadorians are not prepared for the move, and the World Bank has warned against its adoption.

Analysts say it is an “attention-seeking move” from an “authoritative regime”.

Next week’s landmark day follows a vote by lawmakers in June to legalise the crypto-currency.

Under the country’s Bitcoin Law, businesses will be obliged to accept it or the US dollar, the country’s other official currency, as payment.

More than 200 new cash machines are being installed across El Salvador to enable dollars to be converted into Bitcoin.

El Salvador’s government is offering $30 in free bitcoins to encourage citizens to use its national wallet, which is accessed via an online app

There have been several protests by citizens many of whom are still unfamiliar with crypto-currency.

A survey by the Central American University (UCA) found that only 4.8% of the 1,281 asked understood what Bitcoin was and how it was used.

More than 68% of those questioned said they disagreed with using crypto-currency as a legal tender.

More than two million Salvadorian workers in other countries send money to their families back home. Remittances make up around 20% of the country’s GDP.

Those favouring the move have suggested that using Bitcoin could make sending money home cheaper.

According to a Chamber of Commerce survey, 82.5% of respondents do not want to receive remittances in Bitcoin, mainly because its price is so volatile and unpredictable.

Bitcoin, a virtual asset with no direct connection to the real economy, has experienced large fluctuations in value over the years.

It fell sharply in May after a crackdown in China and a decision by Elon Musk’s Tesla not to accept it as payment any more.

However, it has since recovered, rising above $50,000 for the first time in three months in late August.