A continuation of a series on our progress at Bitcoin Lake in Panajachel, Guatemala. If you have not started from the beginning you can start here.
TL;DR — I don’t think anyone knows the answer to the question, “How do you orange pill a nation?”
But that is not stopping our effort at Bitcoin Lake/Lago Bitcoin, Guatemala. One thing is for sure, the experiment turned international phenomena next door in El Salvador is nothing short of miraculous! Under the adroit leadership of Mike Peterson and his crew at Bitcoin Beach, they have gone from introducing a nascent monetary technology in a back woods surfing town to transforming the lives of millions of Salvadorans. Many, many Salvadorans were ashamed of the country they were from and many didn’t speak of their homeland. Now, it is a source of pride that this tiny little nation has taken the first step in what is already an historical step but will be looked back on as a generation defining decision: adopting Bitcoin as legal tender.
This is the back drop and the example that every Bitcoin community around the world emulates as we attempt to do what Bitcoin Beach has done. The most notable ones as of this writing are in Costa Rica, Peru, Brazil, South Africa and our project in Guatemala with others emerging in Turkey and Thailand. These are all definitely “soft forks” of what Bitcoin Beach has done. Having worked to transform our community and push Bitcoin adoption for eight months now, you come to appreciate the truly hard work that is involved. None of which would be possible without the work of Bitcoin Beach before us. Our “gradually, then suddenly” has less “gradually” because of the news of what’s going on next door and the tools that Bitcoin Beach, Galoy Money, and Bitcoin Beach Wallet provide.
I don’t think it is any mistake or coincidence that in El Salvador (The Savior) we have this most perfect money that is transforming the lives of millions and freeing those oppressed by monetary slavery. If you aren’t familiar with my world view as it relates to Bitcoin you can read more about it here.
This brings us to the point of the article and the introduction to the three men pictured above. I first met Cesar, Mario, and Diego on one of their podcasts. They invited me to come on and discuss the project back in February/March of 2022. In the course of our discussion I told them I was speaking at the Thank God for Bitcoin (TGFB) mini-conference the day before Bitcoin 2022 in Miami. Cesar and Diego made a decision to fly to Miami to attend TGFB just to meet me. Another divine intervention as far as I’m concerned.
I know from my limited understanding of politics in Guatemala and the deep seated corruption, that a “Bukele-like” event in Guatemala is years away at best. So Bitcoin adoption has to follow a different path in Guatemala. While Bitcoin Beach started as a grass-roots movement, it got a serious dose of fertilizer when the project was noted by President Bukele. The other challenge with Bitcoin adoption in the other Bitcoin communities around the world including next door in Guatemala is the story of El Salvador sucks all of the oxygen out of the room as far as media, and social media attention. That is not a criticism, it’s the reality. I’m sure Bitcoin Beach sees this as well. This is why they have been so supportive of our project and the other Bitcoin community projects around the world.
In May of this year, I organized a business development trip for entrepreneurs and business owners to come and see the opportunity in Panajachel, Guatemala (Bitcoin Lake/Lago Bitcoin). Cesar and Mario came to see the work and about this time, they were pursuing a radio slot on FM 100 in Guatemala City (Radio Infinita). Cesar had been teaching about finances on a smaller Christian station for 13 years, but this was an opportunity to reach a larger audience and teach about Bitcoin only!
This is a huge opportunity for wider Bitcoin adoption in Guatemala! So we decided that we would do a Bitcoin raffle/giveaway. On the 8th of August we did our first giveaway. We’ve instructed listeners to download the Bitcoin Beach Wallet and enter their information on a google form. The evening of the radio show we enrolled over 100 new users and gave free sats to everyone who downloaded the wallet. In addition, for two random entries, we gave away $100 and $50 worth of BTC.
The plan is to continue this for at least 6 weeks but it may go on indefinitely based on response. And this is only a piece of the puzzle for adoption in Guatemala, other pieces of the puzzle may fall into place, but this is where we are at this point!
Signage has been such a huge help to Bitcoin adoption in Panajachel. Many of you have seen the Tuk Tuk we’ve painted. We finally have several business owners who want their walls painted with Bitcoin branding! We have placed signs on the major roads into the city to welcome people to Lago Bitcoin. And we make sure every establishment has what they need to accept Bitcoin.
We’ve even created a mini point-of-sale (POS) system for small shop owners so their employees don’t need to use the owner’s phones to transact in Bitcoin. This was developed by Fabu69420.
We are thankful for the many guests that have come and signed our wall at the school! We are hopeful that we will have many more this fall. Please reach out to us on Twitter or to Eliazar if you have any specific questions about traveling to Panajachel and Bitcoin Lake!