Back to Bitcoin Country: Announcing Adopting Bitcoin 2022
“That is why next week, I will send to Congress a bill that will make Bitcoin a legal tender in El Salvador.” With these words, President Nayib Bukele sent shockwaves worldwide in June 2021. Shortly before the Bitcoin Law came into force, Nicolas Burtey, together with other Bitcoiners, met the CTO of a Salvadoran bank. They realized that the Bitcoin journey of this country would need the support of Bitcoiners. The usual “Blockchain” companies had already started to position themselves and made their way to the heads of Salvadoran decision-makers. They left the meeting thinking: if the CTO of a bank doesn’t understand Bitcoin, what about the rest of the economy?
Yes, El Zonte is a great example of what can be achieved with diligent education. Still, the process there was gradual, and took a couple of years, not months. By no means is Bitcoin Beach representative of the rest of the country’s relationship to Bitcoin as of now.
Education is the key to adoption
The introduction of a new currency is a rocky road. Bitcoin wasn’t going to be different. Only recently, Salvadorans had to change currency and adopt the US Dollar. But 70% remained excluded from access to banking and basic financial services even after more than 20 years. The proper legislation can be helpful, but on its own is never enough. Parts of the population remain skeptical of Bitcoin, as prominently illustrated by the “No Al Bitcoin” campaigns.
Fortunately, many Bitcoiners have understood the significance and importance of the situation in El Salvador. Some started working hard to lay the groundwork for successful Bitcoin adoption. Immediately after the Bitcoin Law, grassroots initiatives with the mission to educate about Bitcoin emerged, like Mi Primer Bitcoin, Torogoz and La Casa del Bitcoin.
English-Spanish translators with a good knowledge of Bitcoin were suddenly in high demand. After all, there were plenty of educational articles, tutorials and apps that now needed to be translated into Spanish. Venture Capital firms like El Zonte Capital were formed to further education about Bitcoin. Innovative ways to raise capital for infrastructure development like Volcano Bonds were invented, and ambitious projects like Bitcoin City were announced.
Documentary filmmakers flocked to El Salvador to tell the world about the Central American country’s historic move, like “Bond to Unbind” by Satoshi Pollen, Arnold Hubach’s “Bitcoin in El Salvador” or “Dare to dream”.
And last but not least, there was the presence of hundreds of international Bitcoiners for the first Adopting Bitcoin conference in November 2021. This signal increased the boost to local Bitcoin education efforts and reaffirmed that Salvadorans are not left alone on this exciting journey.
One year later — let’s do it again
There were times in October 2021 when we, the organizers of Adopting Bitcoin, thought we might be crazy. There were moments of doubt, hesitation and uncertainty in the face of the unknown. After all, Covid regulations had made international traveling a hassle and mainstream media wasn’t exactly painting El Salvador as a beautiful destination. But Bitcoiners have not been deterred or stopped.
The FUD created a filter that funneled the open-minded, the curious, and the willing to come and see for themselves what was taking place on the ground in El Salvador. It was probably why Adopting Bitcoin was dubbed: “the most Bitcoin conference.”
As the conference closed on the second day, we noticed how many people joined from all corners of the world to learn from El Salvador. This tiny country in Central America made it possible to envision and strive to be the next El Zonte and eventually El Salvador. Meanwhile, communities in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Peru, South Africa, Senegal and Brazil noticed that the adoption of Bitcoin in El Zonte didn’t necessitate a Bitcoin Law and started their own circular Bitcoin economies inspired by Bitcoin Beach.
Bitcoin in El Salvador is still at the beginning of its journey, and we believe that bringing Bitcoiners together for a conference in San Salvador for a second time will reinforce the positive developments to date. So let’s do it again:
Date: November 15–17, 2022
Place: Crowne Plaza, San Salvador
Like last year, the event will offer two main programmed tracks (both simultaneously translated to Spanish): ECON for non-technical, DEV for technical topics. Participants will have the opportunity to branch out from the main tracks to plenty of workshops and breakout sessions in smaller groups according to individual interest. And of course, there will be a Hackspace for the builders and makers.
Call for Participation
The organizing team will invite speakers, but if you want to contribute to the conference as a speaker, you can submit an application at adoptingbitcoin.org — just keep in mind that Adopting Bitcoin is a Bitcoin conference and talks promoting blockchain or crypto will not be given a stage.
The conference is also looking for sponsors. If you or your organization are interested in sponsoring, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or submit inquiry via the form on the website.