Ever Heard Of Bitcoin Beach? - Stab Mag
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La Libertad - Site of the Salvadorian CT in mid-June - 20kms from BTC Beach. Photo by WSL

Ever Heard Of Bitcoin Beach?

The Salvadorian surf town and CT site that inspired adopting BTC as a national currency.

news // Jan 23, 2022
Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: 2 minutes

In Sept. 2021, under the leadership of President Nayib Bukele, El Salvador adopted Bitcoin, the decentralized digital currency as legal tender. Come mid-June for the Salvadorian CT event, Italo may well be paying for his 7000 coffees with a crypto wallet. 

Until Sept 2021, El Salvador’s national currency was the US dollar until new prez elect, 40-year-old Mr Bukele, Sasha Baron Cohen-lookalike, wearer of cool baseball cap, and head of the ‘New Ideas’ party decided to shake the money tree. 

BTC, yesh shemesh, I like very much.

In a country like El Salv, ranked 124th in the Human Development Index, a metric evaluated based on life expectancy, education, and per capita income, many of its 6.8 million citizens go abroad to earn their money where they can expect better quality of life and a more hefty income. One fifth of El Salv’s gross GDP currently comes from money earned outside the country. 

Typically, El Salv folks relied on banks to get their money home, who took a margin in admin and transaction fees to line their own pockets. The promise of crypto then, was that it would cut out the middle man allowing citizens to bank more of their hard-earned savings. Every Salvadoran was gifted $30USD in BTC to shop and pay their taxes with, all companies were required to accept it by law.

El Zonte, a surfing village on the country’s Pacific coast just 20kms from La Libertad, where the CT will be held, was where the BTC dream was birthed, serving as a testing ground to assess the efficacy of a small-scale crypto-based economy. 

In 2019, a small team of Salvadoran volunteers and an American expat started to transform the region to run on BTC. Dubbed the Bitcoin Beach Project, businesses and tourists in the area used BTC to conduct transactions in beach huts or for other local expenses. Employees in the town receive their salaries in digital currency. The name Bitcoin Beach was thus cemented as an open tribute to the town’s acceptance of the currency as payment.

Now looking to consolidate the move to BTC as the national currency, El Salvador is looking to power the Bitcoin movement further by initiating additional developments of the Bitcoin beach. One of which may be Central America’s first wave park in hopes that it will establish Bitcoin Beach as a global Surf hub. 

While the proposal for the wave park seems, at present, a claim largely unsubstantiated by reliable sources, it would make it a more desirable destination from a surf tourism standpoint at a time when more eyeballs are looking at Salv than ever before. 

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