El Salvador, the first country in the world to make Bitcoin legal tender, bought 410 Bitcoin on January 22 as Bitcoin prices dropped below $37,000, a price not seen since last July.
Costing approximately $15 million, President Nayib Bukele, an ardent Bitcoin maximalist, celebrated his country's "really cheap" purchase on Twitter, declaring that the nation had not missed the buying opportunity.
The recent drop in Bitcoin prices has been a boon for the Central American country, which has strategically acquired more than 1,800 Bitcoin during dips in Bitcoin's market prices in the last four months.
The country chose to adopt Bitcoin amid a floundering economy, high inflation, dollarization, and poor spending power last September.
Inside El Salvador, however, citizens have expressed confusion and doubt about Bitcoin, and pointed out that some of the Bitcoin in their Chivo wallets has gone missing. One Central American University survey showed that the majority of citizens do not want Bitcoin, with 9 out of 10 Salvadorans not understanding what the cryptocurrency is, and eight out of 10 saying they have no confidence in Bitcoin.
El Salvador is plagued by distressed debt, with its sovereign debt now valued at 36 cents instead of the 75 cents it was last year. The country is still asking the International Monetary Fund for a $1.3 billion loan.
Indeed, since announcing the switch to Bitcoin, the country's sovereign credit has worsened fourfold: “El Salvador now has the most distressed sovereign debt in the world, and it’s because of the Bitcoin folly,” Steve Hanke, professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins University, told Fortune. “The markets think that Bukele’s gone mad, and he has.”