This is the third installment in Okcoin’s “I am Satoshi” series, profiles of Salvadorans during the transition to bitcoin as legal tender. Read the first about Elina Marchenko’s visit with Enrique Barrios of Bitcoin Smiles.
As I read that email from a friend, it struck me how much of a contrast it was from the typical emails I receive about news stories in El Salvador. There was no shock at the rise in violence, no concern for our family or our organization. There was simply amazement that El Salvador was the first country in the world to adopt bitcoin as legal tender.
Twelve years ago, I moved to El Salvador with my family and have since been working with Mission To El Salvador, a small nonprofit located in the capital city of San Salvador. We are working to invest in the lives of those on the edges — people facing homelessness, adults and teens struggling with addictions, and survivors of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. I have seen amazing strength and resilience by working side by side with a team of committed Salvadorans who love their country and want to see change. Sadly, that is not the narrative so often perpetuated. Instead, it is a narrative of violence and uncertainty, tragedy, and hopelessness.
Now the narrative is changing.
There is still much skepticism among Salvadorans regarding the adoption of bitcoin. It’s new and different and not everyone is sure how it will all work out. Some have rejected it and some have embraced it, but no one can deny that it has put El Salvador on the map. News reports revolve around the potential for economic growth and improved infrastructure, for something cutting-edge and different. There are possibilities particularly for those who find themselves shut out of the financial system. These are the narratives the world is reading now.
On a personal level, our nonprofit began accepting bitcoin donations and we have loved the way we have been connected with new donors. The logistics are easier and instantly someone halfway across the globe can impact our community. It’s an amazing tool to not only invest in the economy, but also to invest in those dedicated to working with Salvadorans toward new futures for the highest risk communities. As donors invest their Bitcoin in our work, they get a front row seat to life change.
It has been a fascinating process to watch Bitcoin grow and expand across El Salvador. My hope is that as Bitcoin draws the world’s gaze, they would see what I have been privileged to see for years — the value, the strength, and the resilience of the Salvadoran people. This is truly a narrative to spread far and wide.
Learn more about Danielle’s project: Mission to El Salvador
This is a guest post by Danielle Snyder. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.