How Bitcoin helped El-Zonte a small town in El-Salvador survive in the COVID-19 pandemic

El Zonte El Salvador Bitcoin

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Money can give you the power to do whatever you want. But how much money can you carry at one time? Or think if you are fond of using cards, but the shop does not accept it, what will you do? If the whole system is converted into just scan and pay and all the currency is transferred in the form of digital currencies will it not be much easier for both the customer and the service provider? Here comes the concept of Bitcoin.

Revolution always starts from a small but significant movement. When the whole world especially the developed countries is thinking about how to ease the process of money transfer and currency exchange, a very small town in El Salvador, a country in Central America shows the way to overcome this situation.

Only 3000 people live in this very small peasant beach town named El Zonte lies on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. The COVID-19 pandemic hit hard in every coastal town of Central America and destroyed the economy. While other Tourist centric economical towns continue to struggle as travel and border remain closed, the residents of El Zonte have lodged an artificial technique to overcome the situation with the use of the newly released Bitcoin economy.


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What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin (₿) is an independent digital currency that is available for transactions without the control of any central bank or administrator. It can be transferred from one person to another through the bitcoin network without the involvement of third parties. Transactions are cryptographically secured and stored in a blockchain.

Satoshi Nakamoto, an unknown person, invented bitcoin in 2008. It can be exchanged for services, products, and currencies. But the value of bitcoin is volatile according to its stalk market value.

Libertarianism and Decentralization are the two ideologies that made bitcoin acceptable for people. For now, 110 million users around the world are using cryptocurrencies.

The Anonymous Donation

An anonymous donor of California who really wants good for El Zonte by heart found a memory stick filled with Bitcoin at the beginning of 2019. He had originally bought that at 10 cents, and never looked for several years. When the donor realized what it was worth now, he/she tried a lot to unlock the wallet. After many failures, the donor was finally able to remember the passcode and raked up the funds. He had faith in blockchain technology for providing stability d for the people not having bank accounts, so he decided to withdraw this piece of luck and used the funds in social development by issuing a multi-year donation in Bitcoin to the town of  El Zonte.

He discussed with many charities of that region and decided to use the fund as a mandate to cover the immediate requirements of the residents of El Zonte during the COVID 19 pandemic. The donor with a partnership with Michael Peterson of San Diego worked as volunteers for 9 months in El Zonte. Every detail of the wallet with passcode was shared with Michael for working in one condition that he will never withdraw the bitcoins in terms of money. A Bitcoin economy was introduced by them after learning the processes of using Bitcoin by themselves. This led to the birth of Bitcoin Beach implantation in El Zonte.

The Vision of a California Surfer

In view to make a sustainable Bitcoin ecosystem, where most of the people of El Zonte are unbanked and the local shops were not qualified to get a card swiping machine to accept the credit and debit cards, Bitcoin Beach was formed in 2019 by an unknown California Surfer and a partner from San Diego.

Peterson and the anonymous donor issued a scheme for the Bitcoin economy, which helped growth in consignments, tourism, small shops, public-related services. The Bitcoin ecosystem was also implanted on Punta Mango, another small beach town just 300 km away from El Zonte. The motto is for the Bitcoin ecosystem to grow in various parts of the country and help unbanked peoples and businesses over time. The drawbacks of using Bitcoins are the high processing and slow withdrawal processes of its blockchain network. Using Bitcoin is challenging for purchasing a low-cost product like coffee. The Bitcoin Beach system helps to overcome this challenge.

The Lightning Network is another payment system that worked side by side with Bitcoin transactions and allowed small level transactions. Satoshi Wallet by an Australian Crypto Developer Company was used for small and high-graded transactions in El Zonte Bitcoin Beach.

Read: Indian Telecom Industry in a crisis

Which Transactions can be done by using Bitcoin in El Zonte?

You can use Bitcoin for any type of service and purchasing products like a cup of coffee or medicine or paying the electricity bill.

● Basic Needs

In El Zonte there are 22 grocery shops, 3 restaurants, 2 hardware shops, 5 barber shops, 4 medicines shops. During COVID 19 pandemic, every shop started accepting bitcoin to increase their sales.

● Utilities

The utility-providing departments including Electricity and Water Supply started accepting bitcoin from their customer to pay the bills. The LPG gas-providing companies are thinking of starting the facility soon.

● Big Projects

Bitcoin Beach implanted a system to pay contractors and suppliers for big projects like the construction of new buildings via bitcoin.

● Educational Fees

Bitcoin Beach supports students who are willing to continue their high school and university studies to pay the education fees via bitcoin.

● Daily Transport

There are only 9th standard schools in El Zonte. So students have to go to nearby high school via bus and rented cars. Bitcoin Beach provides them a fund to pay the daily transport cost through bitcoin.

● Social Working

The Youth Programme of El Zonte does several social works like cleaning the wastes from the river to fixing the street light or the water pipe. People can donate their funds through bitcoin.

● Universal Cash Transfers

During COVID 19  pandemic, the borders were closed and international transports were prohibited by the government. So many people became unemployed during this situation. Every three weeks they got a 35$/family donation in the form of bitcoin. Thus 600 families of El Zonte passed those bad days in some way.

How the Initiation became Successful

Bitcoin Beach helped to overcome the loss of the economy of El Zonte worth 5million$/annum. A 1 hour away Western Union provides the facilities of banking at a rate of 10% tax. So most of the residents of El Zonte have not opened any accounts yet. Bitcoin Beach helped those unbanked people to rely on themselves by issuing a decentralized currency system.

Bitcoin beach El Zonte in El Salvador

The Strike app uses Lighting Network to make a transaction from the U.S.A. to El Salvador quickly and less costly. It provides the facility to connect the user’s bitcoin wallet to the sender’s bank account directly.

There is no bank ATM in El Zonte. But Athena Bitcoin installed the first bitcoin ATM in the world in El Zonte in 2020.

“The president of El Salvador always accepts new technology and we believe he will support our initiation also,” says the founders of Bitcoin Beach.

Why Should Other Countries Adopt such Initiation?

Michael Peterson shared his experience that while inserting bitcoin as an exchange currency among the residents, he told the advantages and disadvantages of accepting Bitcoin. There were Bitcoin training stations to teach the business heads and people in El Zonte. Thus accepting all the facts, residents of El Zonte started transacting through bitcoin. Soon the economy created history by overcoming the damages due to COVID 19 pandemic.

This pandemic hit hard all over the world. Many people lost their jobs. Many businesses closed their services due to a decrease in the GDP. In such a situation Bitcoin Economy will help a lot to re-establish the economy.

From the initial days, Bitcoin promised to access us to bank the unbanked peoples, and do everything independently without any help from governments and financial institutions. Bitcoin Beach is a movement that shows the world the true potential of Bitcoin. Everyone now realized that power can be also transferred to the people who never got any help from the bank.

By adopting this strategy all the transactions can be made without any help from third parties. Every business can accept currency from anyone for even a small cost service. It will save time, make the process easier, and make people independent. They can use their wallet to buy services, products or can withdraw money from an ATM.

Thus an anonymous donation made the Bitcoin Beach mission successful to show the world that a small community can stand with the help of Bitcoin whom society ignores most of the time.

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