Inside Bitcoin Lake: Lessons from my months volunteering with Guatemala’s ground-breaking project

A volunteer from the Bitcoin Lake project in Guatemala shares the benefits of working on this circular economy.

Bitcoin is a disruptive technology that is emerging as a major component of the financial industry. My work at Bitcoin-friendly companies has allowed me to observe the many ways Bitcoin is transforming the industry. Wanting to contribute more, I embarked on a bitcoin-only journey and joined the non-profit project, Bitcoin Lake.

Located in Panajachel, Guatemala, Bitcoin Lake launched just over a year ago. The project aims to create a circular economy powered by Bitcoin, providing a new and affordable solution for both unbanked and banked merchants. in Guatemala, approximately 60% of the elderly population does not have access to formal financial servicesand Bitcoin Lake’s merchant inclusion initiative has had a significant impact on the local community.

I have seen firsthand that this project has successfully onboarded more than 60 merchants, 90% of which are non-bank and only accept cash and bitcoin. The project continues to seek support and ways to improve the experience for Bitcoiners out there. Bitcoin Tuk Tuk (see figure one below) and Bitcoin Boat (cleverly named “Peer To Peer”) are examples of such initiatives.

Figure One: A Bitcoin-themed version of the tuk tuk, a very common vehicle in Panajachel.

Bitcoin Lake has made significant strides in a short period. Business owners are amazed by the ease of use of Bitcoin, and educational projects have been extremely successful. Centro Educativo Josuéthe first school in Guatemala to receive “Mi Primer Bitcoin” course, has seen its students gain an exceptional understanding of Bitcoin. The progress and impact of Bitcoin Lake is significant and serves as an inspiration to all.

During my first month volunteering with Bitcoin Lake, my understanding and dedication to Bitcoin grew significantly. As one of my first tasks, I collected data to assess the progress made over a year. As shown in figures two, three and four below, the charts illustrate the flow of bitcoins in the project and the number of transactions completed in the last year, showing significant growth.

Figure two: 4,674 transactions were made in 2022 according to Bitcoin Beach Wallet data
Figure Three: Bitcoin Lake had a Bitcoin volume of 7.39 BTC in 2022, according to Bitcoin Beach Wallet data

I also started teaching “Mi Primer Bitcoin” courses at the local school, where it was rewarding to see the children understand the concept of money and the potential benefits of Bitcoin. In January, we held our first meeting with 10 participants and plan to host more events in the future. We have also dealt with local merchants and met bitcoiners from all over the world. All our efforts give me hope for a better future, not only for the project, but for the whole country.

The past year has been challenging for the Bitcoin industry, with a lot of lost confidence and a bear market that hit hard. However, we persevered and continued to focus on growth and adoption. Even with the uncertainty and skepticism of those who don’t understand Bitcoin, more people are taking the time to learn about it and recognize its value. Merchants are realizing that they can benefit from holding Bitcoin instead of paying out immediately, and locals are becoming more familiar with Bitcoin, making them more receptive to the idea of ​​adopting this new technology.

Merchants like Pedro, owner of Café del Arte, a small family business that accepts bitcoins, are embracing the benefits of using this technology. As explained by Pedro, the act of accepting credit card payments comes with attached costs and a delayed payment process, while choosing Bitcoin represents an instant, cheaper and more streamlined path with the Lightning Network.

We have seen many similar success stories from other traders which is satisfying. At the local school, Centro Educativo Josué, students learn about Bitcoin, its value and its ability to solve problems like inflation. On April 12, we will test our students’ knowledge of Bitcoin and we are confident that they will be well prepared. You are welcome to be one of the plebs to test the students by contacting them Bitcoin Lake on Twitter.

Bitcoin Lake has made huge strides in promoting a circular economy with Bitcoin. I encourage anyone who wishes to support adoption and experience the beautiful sights, culture and hospitality of Panajachel to visit us. You’ll be amazed at the progress we’ve made, and merchants will be excited to accept your sats. Together we can create a better future with Bitcoin.

This is a guest post by Rudy Gallardo. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.

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