El Zonte, a village in Salvador, is living its own Bitcoin dream. Although it is only a small village with about 3,000 inhabitants, Bitcoin is used more frequently in this village than in the largest and most developed cities in the world. The inhabitants use Bitcoin to buy all the products and services that are offered in this village.
The whole project, called Bitcoin Beach, is an initiative of the union of an unknown cryptocurrency donor and Michael Peterson, a man working for this donor. According to the information, El Zonte was donated up to a six-digit sum in Bitcoin, which is to be used by the population to deal with the problems the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about.
Bitcoin is used in El Zonte to buy almost everything - from tacos, through payments for bills to school bus tickets. In El Zonte, Bitcoin is not perceived as an investment or a speculative tool but rather as a currency here, while it also serves as a tool to educate children and teenagers about technology, money and the economy. Michael Peterson perceives his experience with El Zonte and Bitcoin as follows.
"After we started using Bitcoin in the community, we decided to teach shop owners how to receive payments in Bitcoin. We also pointed out the advantages and disadvantages of Bitcoin payments. Especially on the part of adults, we experienced a wave of reluctance because they perceived it as very technically complex. However, young people learned about Bitcoin quickly. The key is to teach them how to make transactions, and they will then begin to educate themselves about Bitcoin, its security and how it all works.”
Payments in the village run mainly through the Lightning Network which keeps fees to a minimum. Although it may seem like a difficult step at first glance, El Zonte is an example of how with the right education and approach, Bitcoin can be used as a full-fledged means of payment. In addition, the president of El Salvador is a strong supporter of new technologies. That is why Michael Peterson thinks that the president will soon support this village and make it an example.