Saturday, 28 January 2023

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Bitcoin is for those in need, the rest need time to learn: Surfin Bitcoin Panel

Bitcoin is for those in need, the rest need time to learn: Surfin Bitcoin Panel

Bitcoin (BTC) is there for those that need it most; the rest may need time to learn. This message reverberated around the casino conference hall during a panel at Surfin Bitcoin, a Bitcoin-only conference in Biarritz, France, on Aug 26. 

Panelists Ben Perrin, a Bitcoin Youtuber; Ernesto Hernandez, a Salvadoran business consultant; and Carol from the popular Brazillian Youtube channel “Area Bitcoin” tackled a tricky topic: “Victims of the Banking System around the world: Inflation, Censorship.” The role of Bitcoin in such testing environments was brought into question.

From left: Hall, Perrin, Carol and Hernandez

The panelists unloaded experience, evidence and anecdotes from their respective countries: Perrin from Canada, Hernandez from El Salvador and Carol from Brazil in order to tackle the topic. Hernandez, for example, was quick to illustrate that in El Salvador, Bitcoin is no silver bullet.

The tiny Central American country introduced the “Ley Bitcoin” in 2021, but “Let’s not forget that 8 out of 10 Salvadorans were unbanked,” he explained. “It’s a big jump for people to buy a house–or even buy groceries,” without prior knowledge of how banking or financial services work.

Plus, the Chivo app, supported by the government, endured some criticism and even attacks from protestors when first launched. The government app is still under scrutiny. During the Q&A session, Bitcoin podcaster Rikki–who spent 45 days living off Bitcoin only with his partner Laura–queried Hernandez on Bitcoin remittance to El Salvador.

Rikki cited a report regarding El Salvador and remittance, which, while positive, shows that Bitcoin is critically underused for remittance payments. Ernesto explained that currently, interest in El Salvador tends to come from foreign investors and Bitcoin enthusiasts, as opposed to Salvadoran workers living abroad sending money home. Ultimately, the real challenge is educating Salvadorans on the advantages of using Bitcoin as a remittance tool.

Nonetheless, he said with a smile that it’s “fun” to see Salvadorans who had never used banking services before in…

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