El Salvador Village, El Zonte, Adopts Bitcoin As Money

There is a little rustic beach town on the coast of El Salvador called El Zonte, where lives about 3000 people. 


This is a surfer's paradise, visited by those looking genuine and rustic vibe. This little town was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, like many Central-American beach towns. People of El Zonte have forged their own path forward, thanks to its newly formed Bitcoin economy while other tourist hot-spots remain to struggle as borders remain closed. 



Bitcoin Donation in 2019


A secret donor with a fondness for El Zonte found a forgotten thumb drive loaded with Bitcoin sometime in early 2019. He had first purchased the asset when it was priced at around 5-10 cents and put it aside for several years. Upon realizing what his holdings were now worth, the donor spent several days trying to unlock his wallet. After several futile attempts, the donor was eventually able to remember his passphrase and retrieve the funds. A believer in using blockchain technology to boost inclusion for the unbanked, he decided to seize this stroke of luck and put the funds to good use by allocating a multi-year six-figure donation to El Zonte. 


The secret donor partnered with Michael Peterson, a San-Diego local who was volunteering in El Zonte for 9 months, after meeting with several philanthropies in the district, all of which wanted to take the funds and convert them into fiat to cover the community's immediate needs.


Michael was given the chance to administer the Bitcoin on one condition - he would not cash it out. Beneficiaries of the digital currency had to study how to use the Bitcoin itself, building a Bitcoin economy. This was the birth of the Bitcoin Beach initiative. 


The Concept


Bitcoin Beach started to build a sustainable Bitcoin ecosystem, where the majority of residents are unbanked and the local companies don't satisfy the requirements that would enable them to accept credit cards.