El Salvador President Nayib Bukele called FTX the “opposite” of bitcoin (BTC). And the head of the exchange, Sam Bankman-Fride, the leader equated to notorious financial criminals like Charles Ponzi and Bernie Madoff.
In recent months, Bukele has been relatively calm on all things bitcoin as the value of his country’s investment in BTC has plummeted along with market prices.
But like many so-called bitcoin maximalists, Bukele believes that cryptocurrency and bitcoin are not the same thing.
In a tweet, he wrote that it was “still early” in the history of Bitcoin and opined that “FTX is the opposite of Bitcoin.”
But Bukele has no shortage of criticism of Bitcoin. According to Infobae, economist Ricardo Castaneda of the Central American Fiscal Research Institute (ICEFI) stated that there is currently “a strong sense of distrust among [Salvadoran] population” on issues related to BTC.
The newspaper pointed to a survey by the University of Central America (UCA) published in October. The survey showed that 77% of Salvadorans believe that the introduction of BTC “didn’t benefit them at all.”
Bukele’s Bitcoin record is in doubt
Castaneda, an outspoken critic of Bukele and BTC, called the 2021 Bitcoin Law “an economic disaster for El Salvador.” He noted that government agencies have “done their best” to encourage the public to use BTC — with limited or no success.
He added that since Bukele started buying BTC for the country on September 6, 2021 using public funds, these coins have “lost 67% of their value.”
The economist noted that the total amount spent on BTC over the past 12 months was almost equivalent to the annual budget of the Ministry of Agriculture of El Salvador.
This is especially true “in a country where half the population is food insecure,” Castaneda said.
While reports of low BTC adoption in El Salvador may well be true, Bukele has repeatedly urged his Twitter followers to be patient with bitcoin-related matters.
The president is a controversial figure in the international community, largely because of his rapidly deteriorating relationship with Washington, as well as with organizations such as the World Bank and the IMF.
But he claims he still has a high level of support from the general public, which he says is behind his economic plans for El Salvador. October data from CID Gallup shows Bukele has an 86% approval rating.