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El Salvador's Bitcoin Experiment: $60 Million Lost, $375 Million Spent, Little to Show so Far


It has been more than a year since El Salvador made history by becoming the first country to make bitcoin legal tender, and so far, 37-year-old resident Edgardo Acevedo has found the nationwide crypto experiment to be relatively anticlimactic.

“I don’t think anything has changed, except that the country is more recognized than before, but the economic life of Salvadorans remains the same or worse than a few years ago,” said Acevedo, a development engineer working in the capital city of San Salvador.

Acevedo, who is also known by the pseudonym Ishi Kawa, tells CNBC that while bitcoin has become a topic of conversation, adoption remains low, and he has personally found that there are very few businesses that accept the world’s biggest cryptocurrency — and even fewer Salvadorans who wish to pay in the digital token.

“What has improved is the issue of violence and crime, but economically, I can say that nothing has changed,” he said.

It has been a rocky time, with the project not living up to the grand promises made by the country’s popular and outspoken president Nayib Bukele.


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