El Salvador’s ‘My First Bitcoin’: How to Teach a Country About Crypto

The grassroots Mi Primer Bitcoin or “My First Bitcoin” initiative is emerging in El Salvador. The first batch of Bitcoin students started in May of this year. Founded by American activist and journalist John Dennehy, the project is also supported by the government of El Salvador.

Cointelegraph spoke with Dennehy and El Salvador Director of Education Gilberto Motto to delve into the country’s struggles and successes with bitcoin education, and see how quickly bitcoin education is spreading in the land of volcanoes.

Genesis Block

When El Salvador adopts Bitcoin (bitcoin) as legal tender on June 8, 2021, few El Salvadorans except President Nayib Bukele Can explain concepts like seed phrases, Satoshis or Mining. Sleepy surf town El Zonte has the name “Bitcoin Beach” Birthplace of Bitcoin Adoption in El Salvador.

However, the jobs of these 3,000 local residents will be cut to educate the remaining 6 million people. In fact, Salvadorans need hundreds of hours of training, learning, and “hitting oranges” to save and trade in Bitcoin.

The moment Bukele got up to 6 million people onboard the Bitcoin protocol.Source: Twitter

El Salvador’s government faces a daunting task.The motto told Cointelegraph, according to Article 6 of the Bitcoin Law, approved on June 8, 2021, “The state will provide training on the use of this cryptocurrency.” But what would such training look like? How can states introduce bitcoin lessons quickly and efficiently when they themselves have to master new funds?

All the while, Bitcoin enthusiasts, commentators, and the mainstream media have been watching the results of El Salvador’s experiment. Dennehy, who has lived and worked in Latin America in the past, told Cointelegraph that he had to get to the country as soon as the law was announced:

“I knew there was something I wanted to do to help make sure it was successful, and it was successful here.”

Dennehy, who has been “favoring the separation of currency and state” for some time, became an avid Bitcoin enthusiast after first learning about Satoshi’s innovations while living in Ecuador in 2013.He joked that in the experience of most “OG” bitcoiners, the first exchange The BTC he bought was hackedat the time he lost about 2 bitcoins — worth over $40,000 at the time of writing.

About 10 years later, after the arrival of the first country to adopt Bitcoin, he had to find a way to get involved. He flew to El Salvador for the second time as opportunity allowed. However, like other bitcoiners who made the pilgrimage to El Salvador, he was struck by how few merchants and vendors accepted bitcoin. “actually zero [merchants] When the law goes into effect,” Dennehy told Cointelegraph in May.

Rikki, Bitcoin podcaster and human rights activist, lived 45 days in El Salvador Living on Bitcoin and that’s ittold Cointelegraph a similar story about his travels in Bitcoin Land: “No one here knows nothing about Bitcoin. [The government] Not one second of education was provided to the people of El Salvador. “

Motto explained to Cointelegraph that Bitcoin has been incorporated into financial education and financial literacy programs across the country. “The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology is working with various Bitcoin-related institutions in the country,” Motto told Cointelegraph:

“Including Bitcoin Beach Wallet, Mi Primer Bitcoin, etc., is developing a financial education training module with updated content such as cryptocurrencies and e-wallets.”

Even so, relying on governments or third parties to get the job done would go against the spirit of Bitcoin, which is “Trust, Verify.” A grassroots bitcoin education campaign that spreads like a network would be a great fit, and it will complement and expand the government’s bitcoin education program.

“Mi Primer Bitcoin” or My First Bitcoin in English, founded in 2021 by Dennehy, is an NGO that provides free Bitcoin education to Salvadorans. It has since received funding from LookGlass and Bitcoin and Lightning Network service provider IBEX Mercado.

The project came during Danesh’s first conversation with Salvadorans as he became acquainted with his new home. He would casually ask, “Do you accept Bitcoin?” and realize that many people not only don’t accept Bitcoin, but ask Dennehy to explain decentralized currencies to them:

“They were interested in learning more. They saw varying levels of knowledge, but generally low, low but interested,” he said.

Some of the program’s first teachers attended Dennehy’s initial sessions at AirBnB and conference rooms. The first class will take place at the yoga studio on September 24, 2021, “because we’re starting from scratch,” Dennehy elaborates.

“We don’t have the funds and we don’t have the space. […] In fact, in our first class, a student came,” he said.

unabashed, firm belief Forgery across multiple bitcoins bear market, Dennehy and his team continued to fight. Class sizes had grown to nearly 80 by October, and more than 250 in November. Bitcoin price also started to soar – possible catalysts:

“The reality is that the level of interest rates changes in response to changes in prices.”

Still, interest remains in 2022 price action.Class size reached an all-time high in April of this year, with over 800 students, while price fell to a yearly low. Dennehy explained that these courses boil down to financial literacy, from the history of money to the problems it solves. Financial literacy and Bitcoin education go hand in hand.

Motto agreed with Dennehy’s assessment, stating that Bitcoin and financial literacy must work together in El Salvador: “Concepts such as saving, paying taxes, planning expenses, personal or household budgets are still valid today, unfortunately not everyone knows and knows how to put them to good use. they.”

Importantly, the Bitcoin Diploma program is aimed at teenagers, those most eager to learn about money, knowing that money is intrinsically linked to their independence. This is a smart move, Danesh State, as they are most likely to spread the Bitcoin message around El Salvador:

“If we could reach every 16 or 17-year-old in the country, we would effectively be teaching the entire country in a year because this demographic is really strategic. They go home with their parents, aunts, uncles , brother and sister to talk.”

The Bitcoin Diploma exam takes place in week 10 and is divided into four parts. The first part is to create a wallet and then restore it on another device. The second task is to make the transaction on-chain, find the transaction in the blockchain explorer, and then explain why the transaction can be considered final.

A year after his arrival, Danesh “puts that number at 10% of the population now active Bitcoin users.” Likewise, Cointelegraph reports that as many as One in five businessmen in El Salvador Bitcoin is now accepted.

related: Morgan Stanley encourages investors to buy battered El Salvador euro bonds

Progress is clearly good, but Dennehy stressed that Bitcoin is a global currency. The progress El Salvador has made can be reflected around the world:

“We are currently focused on El Salvador because we have limited resources and El Salvador is the signal. It is the front line. But our ambitions are global. Our aim is to change El Salvador, but also the world.

“Once we created a successful template here, the idea was to rename it Bitcoin, El Salvador, and then open Bitcoin,” he explained.