El Salvador: One Year of Bitcoin and Counting
The projects on the ground of El Salvador’s Bitcoin adoption demonstrate how the country’s citizens seek financial education.
El Salvador made history last year when the country adopted Bitcoin as legal tender. The decision gave legitimacy to what many of us have known for a long time—that Bitcoin is a permission less technology that was built for the masses. While this was a significant step forward for the country, many people knew it couldn’t succeed without education. With a population of over six million people, addressing this issue would be a massive undertaking. That’s why the efforts of organizations like Bitcoin Beach and Mi Primer Bitcoin have been crucial to adoption in the region, and why Paxful has dedicated so much of our time on the ground—being the first international company to arrive with a Bitcoin education programme for the whole country starting a year ago.
We had a front-row seat to the action when we launched La Casa del Bitcoin earlier this year. It’s clear that Salvadorans are open to change and eager to learn about how Bitcoin can change their lives. Within the country, we’ve educated over 4,000 people, 32 companies and government institutions, and hosted over 350 workshops for both beginner and seasoned Bitcoiners. Here’s what we discovered:
Bitcoin is available to everyone. Bitcoin has no bounds and it doesn’t discriminate. Take, for example, Alejandro. Alejandro was collecting his pension when he began to worry about his future. He, like many others, was skeptical of Bitcoin but was curious about how he could use it to his advantage. He now uses Bitcoin as an investment tool to save for the future after taking a number of classes at La Casa del Bitcoin.
Bitcoin has the ability to open doors. With the new law, the people of El Salvador could use Bitcoin to pay for goods and services, easily remit money to friends and relatives abroad, and finally achieve financial freedom. Take La Casa del Bitcoin, for example, which provides free and accessible learning opportunities around Bitcoin to build financial inclusion. The center is assisting in the next wave of Bitcoin mass adoption while also providing small merchants and local businesses with the tools they need to connect with customers and increase their income.
Bitcoin can help communities. In developing nations, Bitcoin has the power to bridge the financial gap and connect the unbanked to the global economy. Initiatives like Bitcoin Beach have shown the world that we can build sustainable communities using Bitcoin — and most importantly, that it can work. That is why the work of the Built With Bitcoin Foundation (BWB) all over the world is so critical. Building schools and communities with Bitcoin donations, BWB has shown how Bitcoin can be used for social good. Earlier this year, Bitcoin Magazine helped to fund the repairs of a school and fund a boat on a remote island in El Salvador called Isla Tasajera. Thanks to Bitcoin, the community can provide their children with a better education and find creative ways to build a stronger financial future.
It was observed, that a lot of small businesses in rural areas were already taking Bitcoin. it was also noted the handwritten message “accepting Bitcoin” signs in Santa Ana, a small and vibrant town. Salvadorans are known as “bisneros,” which is an adaptation of “entrepreneur”—it’s no surprise they are discovering how to conquer global entrepreneurship through Bitcoin.