One-fifth of businesses in El Salvador now accept Bitcoin: NBER study

Months after Bitcoin (BTC) became legal tender in El Salvador, a study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) shows that 20 percent of businesses have started to accept BTC as their payment method. 

The study, surveying adults from 1,800 households in El Salvador, aimed to measure the adoption of BTC in the country after the Bitcoin Law was passed. The researchers found that BTC is gaining ground compared to other payment methods.

Suchitoto, a municipality in El Salvador. Source: elsalvador.travel

According to the report, users who have downloaded the government-backed Chivo Wallet have “decreased their use of cash by 10%, while their net use of debit cards has been reduced by 11%.”

Apart from this, as the Bitcoin Law in El Salvador requires economic agents to accept BTC, the study also questioned survey participants who identified as owners of firms and employees familiar with company payment methods.

Within this demographic, 20% stated that their company or place of work accepts BTC, while only 25% accept credit and debit cards. Additionally, the study noted that “11.4% of firms have positive sales in Bitcoin.”

The researchers also found that 71% of BTC sales are mostly converted into dollars and then withdrawn. Furthermore, 17% of the sales are converted into dollars and kept within the Chivo Wallet. Meanwhile, 12% have kept their BTC within the Chivo application.

Related: From beer to Bitcoin as legal tender: A BTC education in Roatán

After the Bitcoin Law was enacted, an Italian couple tried to go around El Salvador for 45 days while using only BTC as their means of payment. The couple found that many places like McDonald’s and Starbucks already accept Bitcoin. However, they also faced vendors that are not familiar with the cryptocurrency.

Meanwhile, the Central African Republic has recently adopted BTC as a legal tender. With this, the nation’s residents are legally allowed to use BTC in the same way along with the country’s franc. Apart from this, the African country also established a regulatory framework for crypto use.