early this year i visited el salvador after a long time ago. immigration was smooth and fast. the country feels less corrupt and more secure than 20 years ago.
i tried to pay everywhere in bitcoin but in 80% of places i was rejected. they accepted only usd. mostly small companies in san salvador and in santa ana accept bitcoin for payments. almost all large companies do not like bitcoin at all and find all kind of excuses: it is down today. sorry, we cannot accept it because of this and because of that.....what is down??? bitcoin is never down! you dig deeper and find out they mean chivo when they say bitcoin. what the heck is chivo? it turns out that it is the 'government' digital currency wallet. bukele 'donated' everyone who did full KYC 30 usd. usd, not bitcoin. they had to give their name, address, phone number email and received 30 usd in a usd wallet which can also do bitcoin. but the wallet is flawed, it is down many times, it has lost bitcoin funds of some users and they blamed bitcoin of course...and where did the money come from anyway? not from bukele, that is sure..
what?? why? the hooded guy gave a weird but inspiring speech at the bitcoin conference announcing that a country had adopted bitcoin and the country was el salvador. bukele confirmed that later. he also announced that el salvador will issue bitcoin bonds and buy one bitcoin every day.
it turned out to be a political stunt. a marketing campaign abusing bitcoin. bukele also announced that everyone owning one bitcoin could immigrate to el salvador. it turned out not to be true.
this political stunt put el salvador on the map. no one has heard about el salvador before. most people did not even know that it existed. two years later el salvador is booming, it got a record number of tourists and a record number of 'investments' . bukele introduced a plan for a 'bitcoin city' which many people on a message forum said looked more like a five mile city.
when you land in el salvador you cannot see any ads for bitcoin. it looks like it does not exist. no billboards, no one even talks about it. there is a small community at the beach which uses it and trades small products using lightning. the youtubers from italy below spent one year in el salvador when it became legal tender and report one year later that almost no one accepts bitcoin any more.
what is wrong with el salvador? does a government controlled wallet provide "freedom"? does it confirm the rule: do not trust any politician?
guatemala has thriving bitcoin adoption communities without any 'government' intervention costa rica has a bitcoin market in uvita and in other places even though the 'government' is hostile to bitcoin lugano in switzerland has emerged as a global leader in bitcoin adoption
bitcoin was created against 'government', against oppression and control. whatever "government" touches, fails. it looks like el salvador confirms this rule
here is the video of the italian confirming what i experienced: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPMGPDjZz7A
is el salvador a failed bitcoin state because bukele messed it up with totalitarian chivo wallet?
I'm here right now and I can confirm what you say
However, I don't think that ~20% BTC adoption should be viewed as a failure, quite the opposite.
Maybe not everywhere accepts it, and true, waiters will actually try and say they don't accept it when they do, but it IS possible to live just on Bitcoin in El Salvador. I'm doing it right now.
https://btcmap.org -> this is pretty up to date
Bitcoin is legal tender in El Salvador and that's a big deal, perhaps adoption is slower than we would have liked, but it is definitely happening...
It's the same situation in Boracay, the marketing is definitely not the reality. It's down to people like us though, to change that.
@k00b - I'm not chasing coinage (it can go to rewards pool) but wanted to highlight that I never received 3970 sats from this post, so there might be a bug in SN?
according to my satistics, the received amount from this post is 707..
Your rewards get added to this amount. Did you factor in your rewards?
aha - so the amount shown on the post includes the rewards? that would explain it as it's roughly the same.
FYI, intuitively, I would have expected rewards to appear in (private) Satistics, but not in the associated (public) post total..
Either that or I'd expect the satistics to break down the rewards by post. Not sure how else I'd have been able to reconcile the above difference. I get that it's probably an experiment though, so if it's all temporary, feel free to ignore my feedback!
It does show in satistics (totaled up), but also on each item that were responsible for your rewards.
This is what I see:
Yep, I agree. It's a confusing UX.
Well said.
Can we just take a moment to go over all the good things you said.
  • immigration was smooth and fast
  • the country feels less corrupt and more secure
  • 20% of places accepted Bitcoin
  • small companies in san salvador and in santa ana accept bitcoin for payments.
  • the government introduced people to digital currency wallets.
  • the country said they will buy one bitcoin every day
  • it put el salvador on the map
  • two years later el salvador is booming
  • it got a record number of tourists and a record number of 'investments
  • a plan for a 'bitcoin city'
  • a small community at the beach which uses it and trades small products using lightning
  • bitcoin has been declared legal tender
Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. All of the above are good for the people of El Salvador and they bring more awareness to Bitcoin. This is not nothing.
Adoption takes time. This is what adoption looks like. Presumably some of the people in El Salvador have been orange pilled. Imagine what's going to happen in the next bull run when those people are telling their friends and so forth.
The media likes to shit on El Salvador now but at some point they won't be able to deny the benefits it has brought the country. Other countries will take notice.
Yes the cup is half full. Positive things agreed 100%. For the last four years I have been trying to get my B2B customers and suppliers to use Bitcoin, (now primarily in the Lightning realm), It's working slowly, But it's working, I'm long term. I strongly think B2B from smaller manufacturers, wholesalers will start to accept Bitcoin as they are slowly seeing their peers starting to go this way, not saying all at once, not everbody, that's ok it's workinig.
Thank god we have Bitcoin to help us our families, our businesses.
good work. Keep it up and more will turn :). (just doubt you have god to thank for that)
I wouldn't expect them all to suddenly accept/learn about Bitcoin.
Positive impressions from another recent visitor (Little HODLers creator): https://fountain.fm/episode/CFhtCwcc9kXv02Gn9CVR
Wow, its already up to 20% adoption is such a short amount of time, incredible!
If Bitcoin moves any faster it will rip the wings off the plane, this is really moving at supersonic speed. Nothing is quite as exciting as watching people moan about Bitcoin. Its only a few people, its only a few companies, its only a few regions, its only a few countries. Whats next, its only a few worlds? I love it!
Very good article that presents a less common perspective around here. Were you born in El Salvador?
thank you...no, from europe but i live in mexico and i have lived in central america
what general area if you don't mind answering ? Seems there are definitely areas that foreigners need avoid for safety.
Thanks for sharing some firsthand experience. reality is often different than what we want it to be when it comes to adoption sadly
Did he really say El Salvador would buy one bitcoin a day? I haven't heard that before.
It takes time. Give it 10-20 years. A full generation.
Excellent article. Thank you for sharing your insights (and questions)
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Rikki – the Italian in the video you linked – did a follow up at Baltic Honeybadger a few days ago. Unfortunately, it's not recorded (cypherpunk stage - so maybe there is an audio only version) but it painted a pretty dire picture. They went back to El Salvador and found things to be even worse than before...
I know folks who purchased a new home to be built in El Salvador all in BTC. I think that is pretty amazing. I don't know many other places where that is possible.
You could to in the Brisas of Surf City project in San Blas. https://www.brisasdesurfcity.com/
all over the world people buy/sell real estate in bitcoin.
it has nothing to do with a politician who forces people into a custodial kyc- usd -wallet. politicians are liars, trash. stop admiring them. be a souveraign individual and do not fall into a trap.
I'm not aware anyone is forced to use Chivo. The Salvadorian government subsidize adoption by giving out money but nobody has to use Chivo as far as I am aware.
I don't admire politicians. I try to be a sovereign individual. What is the trap I should avoid?
Whoa whoa whoa hold your horses there little buddy...
Name me just one other country that is even CLOSE to allowing their public school kids to take actual classes in Bitcoin??
I think they screwed up with the Chivo wallet and obviously haven't found a way to fix that mess yet, but on the other hand, all the kids in El Salvador are getting a Solid foundation in bitcoin and why it's needed. All families across the country are slowly becoming infected with proper bitcoin education!
Forgot to mention that Salvadorans are starting to move back. That's a HUGE win for sovereignty and human rights.
tell us more about what happens in the forum troll department at the FBI please
A politician not keeping up on his promises? (Insert surprised Pikachu face here)
I guess you are disappointed. you wanted more.