Analysis: El Salvador's Decision and the Salvadorian Mainstream Media's Reaction

Bitcoin Perception report aims to understand how Nayib Bukele's government's Bitcoin adoption since the 2021 Bitcoin Law has been perceived by local media. It analyzes 1440 articles from 5 major local media outlets written by 152 reporters from January 1, 2021, to December 31, 2023.

Analysis: El Salvador's Decision and the Salvadorian Mainstream Media's Reaction
  • "In reflecting upon the journey of Bitcoin's adoption as legal tender in El Salvador and its subsequent media coverage, it becomes evident that this pioneering move has navigated a complex landscape of enthusiasm, skepticism, and controversy."
"El Salvador's adoption of Bitcoin has not only been a bold financial experiment but also a case study in how media coverage can shape public opinion on such a global scale," said Bitcoin Perception founder and one of the report's authors Fernando Nikolić.
  • "Our work seeks to identify the causes that shape the perception of Bitcoin in the media in El Salvador, and provide suggestions on how to improve journalistic coverage of Bitcoin, in aspects such as adoption, regulation and significance of its technology," added report's co-author Luis David Esparragoza.

Key Insights

Before Bitcoin's legal tender status in June 2021, Salvadoran media coverage was sparse, focusing mostly on price. By the end of 2021, local media had published 694 articles on Bitcoin, spurred by the announcement and subsequent enactment of the law. However, interest from the press has waned in 2022 and 2023.
  • "Bitcoin Perception data reveals that Salvadoran media's Bitcoin coverage is deeply entwined with political and historical narratives, often casting a critical eye on President Nayib Bukele's policies. Articles frequently discuss unmet promises by Bukele's administration, including skepticism around Bitcoin adoption outcomes."
  • "Bitcoin Perception data suggests a pattern where Bitcoin attracts media attention primarily during price drops, revealing a bias that also extends to international media but is particularly pronounced in the local context due to additional political factors."
"Notably, Salvadoran media often deferred to international experts and outlets like Steve Hanke and The Financial Times during this timeline, reflecting a broader pattern of admiration and reliance on foreign critique."
  • "Some media outlets maintain a positive outlook on Bitcoin's potential in El Salvador. The primary issue, however, is the lack of understanding about Bitcoin."
  • "The media frequently blurs the distinction between Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies."
  • "Education is paramount in the Bitcoin community, where resources to learn about Bitcoin abound globally. In El Salvador, initiatives like Mi Primer Bitcoin and Bitcoin Beach are leading educational efforts."

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