Central Bank of El Salvador Bitcoin Summit
What happened in El Salvador to encourage 44 different countries send representatives of 32 central banks and 12 other financial institutions? The short answer is that last week the country hosted an economic summit to learn more about El Salvador’s strategies and experience with financial inclusion. And while the event is not a Bitcoin-specific gathering, attendees, many of whom hail from countries with economies similar to El Salvador’s, were exposed first-hand to the country’s unique and pioneering Bitcoin journey.
A Bitcoin Summit for the Alliance for Financial Inclusion
Participants in this financial forum are members of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), an organization that promotes and develops economic policies that help improve the lives of poor and unbanked people. In an interview for this article, Mike Peterson of Bitcoin Beach project, described the organization as the “group of forgotten countries that economic superpowers often overlook”.
As an AFI member since 2012, this latest El Salvador Summit hosted the latest rounds of meetings of the AFI Digital Financial Services Working Group and the Micro, Small and Medium Services Working Group. businesses. According to the Salvadoran president, Nayib Bukeleon Twitter, the rally focused on “financial inclusion, digital economy, banking for the unbanked, Bitcoin deployment and its benefits…”
While the event was scheduled for 2020 and postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, AFI finalized the summit agenda before El Salvador approved the “Bitcoin Law”. Although ahead of the summit, AFI Director of Policy Programs and Implementation Eliki Boletawa recognized El Salvador as the first country to make bitcoin legal tender and balance innovation with “stability. , integrity and inclusiveness”.
In an interview with Salvadoran state news media, Banji Milambo, a representative of the Zambian delegation, in reference to the adoption of Bitcoin, said: “It is a step-by-step decision, it is the evolution money and the rest of us have to catch up. .”
Some countries are not ready for bitcoin
As news of the gathering of central bankers and financial institutions spread on social media, many Bitcoiners began to wonder if this event foreshadowed a large-scale nation-state adoption event for Bitcoin.
To respond to this viral anticipation, the central bank of Paraguay, a participant in the summit, issued a statement informing the people of the country that the meetings were not about the adoption of cryptocurrencies. He also reminded Paraguayans that cryptocurrencies cannot be legal tender according to his laws, because the central bank does not issue them.
AFI also released a few similar statements, one of which reiterated that Bitcoin adoption “was particularly relevant to El Salvador and a wonderful peer-to-peer exchange opportunity; however, adoption is not a possibility in the majority of countries.
AFI members can learn a lot from this summit, and they may need some time to reflect on their experiences.
“The majority of participants are not low-level bureaucrats but central bankers and policymakers. Their decisions will impact their home country,” Peterson said.
It should be noted that some of the participants may also keep growing interest in Bitcoin adoption out of the public eye, given that financial institutions like Home Credit, Visa, and Mastercard are funding AFI.
El Salvador is a Bitcoin role model to follow
Just eight months into official Bitcoin adoption efforts in El Salvador, impatience is a common theme among critics and Bitcoiners. However, the implementation of Bitcoin did not happen overnight and summit members are likely unaware of the country’s challenges so far.
Little is known that President Nayib Bukele first spoke about Bitcoin adoption in 2017 while his opposition prevented him from running for the presidency. At that time, the electoral authorities threatened to freeze his election campaign funds, which prompted him to claim that El Salvador would use Bitcoin.
While the principles of freedom and non-confiscable money were at least in part driving the adoption of Bitcoin in El Salvador, the primary value proposition should still be financial inclusivity, as evidenced by many aspects of bitcoin law. And to showcase the country’s best case study, on the fourth and final day of the summit, organizers invited AFI members to El Zonte, where they participated in a hands-on workshop on Lightning Network transactions.
“Participants received $10 worth of bitcoin on their Bitcoin Beach wallet so they could go buy goods and services from local businesses,” Peterson said. According to AFI, it gave attendees a first-hand look at how “small and medium-sized businesses and individuals are using private digital currencies in their daily lives.”
According to Peterson, there is no such thing as experiencing Bitcoin first-hand rather than Lightning.
“It’s one thing to understand Bitcoin’s economics and technology, but it’s quite another to experience trading with it and how fast it is,” he said. he declares. “And it’s important that they see how a bitcoin circular economy can happen in El Zonte, because they can understand and connect what’s happening here with similar communities in their own country.”
In many ways, Bitcoin is a hit in El Salvador. AFI members would do well to pay attention as the country posted a 10.3% increase in GDP30% increase in tourism, 15.3% increase in exports and 4.2% increase in remittances. Even by the The International Monetary Fund’s own standards, it is one of the best countries in Latin America to emerge from the pandemic. He projects a positive GDP growthand the results show less crime and less emigration to the United States.
According to the Bitcoin Beach Twitter account, Peterson hopes attendees walked away with light bulb moments when they realize that, thanks to Bitcoin, they can solve their economic problems without much difficulty.
“It all started here, and it’s important that they see the place that pushed the world into hyperbitcoinization,” Peterson said.
This is a guest post by Jaime Garcia. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.