From The Ground: The Bitcoin Italia Podcast Visits El Zonte AKA Bitcoin Beach

From The Ground: The Bitcoin Italia Podcast Visits El Zonte AKA Bitcoin Beach

For bitcoiners, all roads lead to Bitcoin Beach. The Bitcoin Italia podcast will get there, but first, they’ll have to fing transportation and get credit on their phone. Remember, their mission is to live in El Salvador for a month and a half without touching dirty fiat. Considering bitcoin is legal tender there, you’d think it would be easier. It seems like The Bitcoin Italia podcast fellows are accomplishing it, but, at what cost? The struggle is what makes their series of blog posts so compelling. That, and the prose.

The Bitcoin Italia Podcast Vs. Companies

As a reminder, the Bitcoin Italia podcast already fought the Chivo Wallet and found solace in the Bitcoin Beach Wallet. This time, though, they’re having trouble with Uber. Even though they bought a $100 in credit from Bitrefil, the system still asks them to register a credit card. Since they’re still going to pay with the gift card, “this does not contravene the rules of our mission.” Bitcoin Italia podcast fellows do it and the system tells them “that the payment method is invalid.”

Their analysis of the situation is so beautifully written, that we have to quote it in its entirety:

“In order to pay 15 flea-bitten dollars for a ride, a cumbersome series of superfluous international intermediations must be activated. The app has to ask permission from the credit card provider, who has to get the okay from the bank, who has to communicate to Uber’s bank, who has to give the app the green light. All of this in 2021, when at the speed of lightning we could give cryptographic proof to the system of the actual possession of our value, and carry out an inviolable and mathematically irreversible transaction, without the need for any further guarantee from third parties. To protect the privilege of a few we have built around us a world unnecessarily complex, which today is obsolete.”

However, this is an Uber problem. When Bitcoin Italia podcast fellows try to pay for phone credit, also with Bitrefil, it works perfectly. The phone company even provides a dedicated page for these kinds of payments:

“At the moment of finalizing the purchase you have access to a new screen, which summarizes the data and allows you to select the type of wallet that we have installed on the smartphone and that we want to use. Clicking on confirm the wallet opens automatically and sets directly the lightning payment, the FaceID of the iPhone is activated, recognizes our face and that’s it. After a few seconds, a text message from Claro notifies us that the recharge of the credit the credit has been made.”

That FaceID part sounds even worst than KYC measures, but that’s iPhone for you.

The Road To Bitcoin Beach

On pilgrimage day, the Bitcoin Italia podcast has to get a normal cab. This time, the driver is proficient with the Chivo Wallet and they have no problems. “He’s already had passengers pay him in Bitcoin and what he’s accumulated he has no intention of converting to dollars. He’s realized that over time they will appreciate a lot.” The plan is working. After a while, our heroes arrive at their destination, and their prose makes another stellar appearance.

“On the bumpy streets of El Zonte everything, literally, bears the Bitcoin logo. Toyland madness. Every sign, every business, every flag, every t-shirt. It’s everywhere. The very symbol of the settlement. We are hungry and find a little restaurant right on the beach. The sun is scorching and the sand, dark and volcanic, is hot.“

They immediately feel the difference from San Salvador. There are the locals, a lot of surf people, and, of course, bitcoiners. For example, the Bitcoin Italia podcast fellows meet “an American entrepreneur, he invested in Bitcoin years ago and is here to buy a large plot of land, on which he wants to build a citadel, a kind of compound for bitcoiners.” And he’s not the only one. Before closing their first night in Bitcoin Beach, they leave us with this reflection:

”It only took a few hours in El Zonte to understand that in this place we will meet peculiar people and that it is a sort of bubble, completely detached from the rest of the country. For some strange reason this is a geographical area that for years now has been attracting people like us, capable of being the first to realize that this thing is destined to change everything. Forever and irreversibly.”

Forever and irreversibly indeed.

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