El Salvador is far from a massive adoption of bitcoin, according to these data

Key facts:
  • Greater financial inclusion continues to appear on Bukele’s to-do list.

  • The Chivo Wallet is not used to pay taxes, or to receive remittances.

The massive adoption of bitcoin (BTC) is not a reality in El Salvador, a country that seven months ago declared the cryptocurrency as a legal tender asset. Its inhabitants prefer to pay with dollars in cash, as revealed by a survey in which almost 2,000 Salvadoran households participated, whose residents were interviewed face to face.

A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research (nber) surveys the level of acceptance with which bitcoin has permeated the salvadoran populationalthough it makes the exception that the survey resource was necessary due to “the little access to data that the government offers to anyone who wishes to study a widely debated phenomenon”, such as the Bitcoin Law of El Salvador.

“Data access poses a challenge as the Salvadoran government only discloses select information and no details through the president’s Twitter account. So, to meet this challenge, we conducted a nationally representative survey to generate data that would otherwise be unattainable,” the report reads.


The survey data indicates that more than two-thirds of Salvadorans, that is, 68% are aware of the existence of the government Bitcoin walletthe Chivo Wallet, which was developed by the Executive of Nayib Bukele to promote the adoption of the cryptocurrency.

However, not everyone who knows about the app has tried to download it, although they do there was a time when the population was more willing to use the Chivo Wallet. This was in September of last year, when downloading the application granted a bonus of USD 30 by provision of the Bukele government.

The main reason why users expressed interest in the Chivo Wallet was precisely to receive the reward that the government delivered to each person who registered on the platform. As a second important reason, Salvadorans mentioned the contactless nature of the payment system, as the report adds.

Some of the users used the bonus to pay expenses, while 20% of them have not used this benefit. It is not clarified in the document, but apparently these people would be holding their BTC.

So far in 2022, “there have been virtually no downloads,” the report notes. With this it is clear that the main promoter of supposed adoption of the “Chivo” purse was the bonus delivered by the Executive.

68% of potential users are aware of the existence of the government Bitcoin wallet, Chivo Wallet, and the majority learned of its existence through social media. Source:

Is there greater inclusion with bitcoin in El Salvador?

Seven months after the declaration of bitcoin as legal tender in El Salvador, greater financial inclusion continues to appear on Bukele’s to-do list.

Before the adoption of cryptocurrency, more than 70% of the country’s inhabitants were not bankedbut so far things have changed little, because not everyone enjoys the benefits of a decentralized payment system, such as Bitcoin.

The constant failures that the government wallet has presented is the main reason that Salvadorans expose for not downloading it, so they prefer to pay for their services and purchases with cash.

40% of all downloads that occurred from the Chivo Wallet were done in September of last year, and there have been virtually no downloads in 2022. Source:

In any case, they are young men, banked, with a certain level of education and with a mobile phone with Internet access, who are more likely to use the government wallet.

The authors of the report add that they tried to contact multiple government entities to receive more information about the Chivo Wallet, but their attempts were unsuccessful.

As conclusive data, the report adds that “the average amount of payments and transfers, both sent and received, is slightly higher in dollars than in bitcoin.” It means that, in general terms, active Chivo Wallet users use dollars more often than bitcoin.

Are remittances transferred or taxes paid with bitcoin?

The majority of Salvadorans surveyed said that they are not paying their taxes with bitcoin through the Chivo Wallet. Nor is the government wallet used to receive remittances from abroad, although 8% of the participants in the survey said that they have used the application to transfer or receive remittances in dollars.

The data in the report coincides with that published by CriptoNoticias last month, when it reported that family remittances that are sent in bitcoin to El Salvador, reached their lowest level in February of this year.

95% of those surveyed said they have not used the Chivo Wallet to pay taxes and 89% do not use it to transfer or receive remittances. Source:

In short, the authors of the study point out that the main reasons why Salvadorans are not adopting bitcoin it’s because they still don’t understandThey say you don’t trust him. Also because they believe that the cryptocurrency is not accepted by many companies or because the price is volatile. They also state that it implies high transfer fees.

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