With over 700 participants from over 30 countries at this conference, the energy is electric as Lightning powers El Salvador’s passage from a little-known country to the main destination for Bitcoiners. As the Bitcoin culture is bigger and wider than ever before, there are a dizzying number of people who have made significant contributions to the space here. As you walk through the crowded hallway of Centro de Convenciones, you are quickly surrounded by Bitcoin podcasters, miners, business leaders, and the plebs, all contributing to a free and inclusive atmosphere. With everyone demonstrating genuine kindness and accessibility, you can’t help but feel empowered to interact with everyone freely. These qualities can rarely be found in a place where many top tech and financial minds come together, but they are palpable here. And that’s the beauty of Bitcoin.
“With Bitcoin, we are all equal.” – Morena Ileana Valdez Vigil, Salvadoran Minister of Tourism
As the opening speaker, Minister Valdez delivered a warm speech encouraging everyone to see El Salvador in all its vitality as their home away from home.
“For many years El Salvador was last on the list of annual GDP (gross domestic product) growth rates in Central America, now we’re about to end the year at the top with 9% growth this year. year.” -Maria Luisa Hayem Breve, Minister of Economy of El Salvador
Minister Breve said she and the government are very aware that El Salvador is at the forefront of financial technology in the world, a role they are playing with open arms.
In the next session, Salvadoran Bitcoin miner Gerson Martinez interviewed three Bitcoin Beach members Jorge Valenzuela, Roman “Chimbera” Martinez, and Mike Peterson.
In the most heartfelt speech of the day, Jorge Valenzuela fought through tears to express how much Bitcoin has changed his life and that of his community in El Zonte:
“The cycle of youth adopted by gangs has been repeated too often in El Salvador. Bitcoin has become our way out of this cycle. So many of my friends have died without seeing this opportunity. Now all children finally have hope at their fingertips. They can finally see a better future, and Bitcoin is that future for our community. This group of young Bitcoin Beach dreamers changed their country and are now working to change the world.
The conference is split into two groups with an economic track and a developer track running simultaneously, with each participant having a choice of sticking to one track or bouncing between the two. With a program as diverse as the songs of birds you hear in the streets of San Salvador, each participant will be more than happy with the wide choice of courses.
Thanks for reading and don’t forget to come back soon for a recap of day two!
This is a guest article by Josh Doña. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.