On the coast of El Salvador, lies a small rustic beach town of 3,000 locals, known as El Zonte. A surfer’s paradise, the village is frequented by those seeking an authentic and rustic vibe. Like so many Central-American beach towns, the families of El Zonte were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. While other tourist hot-spots continue to struggle as borders remain closed, the people of El Zonte have forged their own path forward, thanks to its newly formed Bitcoin economy.Bitcoin education station in El Zonte. Michael Peterson The Secret Bitcoin Donation
Sometime in early 2019, an anonymous donor with a fondness for El Zonte discovered a forgotten thumb drive loaded with Bitcoin. He had originally purchased the asset when it was priced at around 5-10 cents, and put it aside for several years. Upon realizing what his holdings were now worth, the donor spent several days attempting to unlock his wallet. After many futile attempts, the donor was finally able to remember his passphrase and retrieve the funds. A believer in using blockchain technology to boost inclusion for the unbanked, he decided to seize this stroke of luck and put the funds to good use by allocating a multi-year six figure donation to El Zonte.
After meeting with several philanthropies in the region, all of which wanted to take the funds and convert them into fiat to cover the community's immediate needs, the donor partnered with Michael Peterson, a San-Diego native that spends up to 9 months of the year volunteering in El Zonte. Michael was given the opportunity to administer the Bitcoin on one condition - he would not cash it out. Beneficiaries of the digital currency had to learn how to use the Bitcoin itself, creating a Bitcoin economy. This was the birth of the Bitcoin Beach initiative.Jorge Valenzuela teaching local kids how to use Bitcoin. Michael Peterson The Vision
Bitcoin Beach s...