Grassroots Adoption of Crypto Around The World
In 2018, the McKinsey analysts predicted that by 2020 the number of smart cities would reach 600 worldwide, and 5 years later almost 60 percent of the world’s GDP would be produced in them.
So, how does that prediction square with the state of crypto in 2021? How many communities adopt Bitcoin and does it work the same across the globe?
Check out the list of innovative communities that are working to bring the blockchain-based economy to life.
The village of El Zonte in El Salvador
In our list of communities that have adopted Bitcoin, the El Salvador village, El Zonte, has probably done the best. Currently, locals living in El Zonte, also known as Bitcoin Beach, can use the Lightning Network to pay their bills and buy anything from tacos to hardware supplies.
The community also provides students with grants in Bitcoin if young people decide to pursue higher education. But paying in crypto for education is not the only initiative in the community. Bitcoin Beach also takes care of transportation to school, universal cash transfers, food and basic needs. As an illustration - you can pay with Bitcoin at grocery stores, three restaurants, a barber shop, nail salon and two hardware stores. People also get paid in Bitcoin when cleaning the El Zonte River from trash, helping with road repairs and trash removal.
But mainly, Bitcoin Beach has created this ecosystem because the majority of residents are unbanked and local businesses don't meet the requirements that would enable them to accept credit cards.
So, what people are behind this initiative? It’s actually a secret. In 2019, an anonymous donor decided to put his funds to good use by allocating a multi-year six-figure donation to El Zonte. The rumour has it that he had discovered a forgotten thumb drive loaded with Bitcoin that he originally purchased when it cost 5-10 cents. He decided to use this money for charity and developing a crypto community where it was most needed - El Zonte.
Ukranian village, Elizavetovka
In 2018, the Ukrainian village of Elizavetovka in the Dnepropetrovsk region became the first community in the country where locals could purchase items such as meat, eggs, milk and lard for money earned from crypto market fluctuations.
When Cardano’s price was $0.40, the chairman of the village board, Maxim Golosnoy, invested 13,000 hryvnias worth $494. When the price increased and went up to about 39,000 hryvnias worth $1,480, he sold the coins, repaid himself the 13,000 hryvnias and set the rest aside for his residents.
The only problem with that approach was that he was going to sign out the revenues to the locals manually without the use of any mobile app. That’s why, probably, the project went cold after Golosnoy pitched his idea to the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. His vision was to show the whole country how a small investment could earn on its own and not draw money from the state treasury.
Agnes Water, Queensland, Australia
There’s a little beautiful resort in Queensland, Australia, it’s called Agnes Water, and it’s not only famous for having the Great Barrier Reef on its doorstep, but also a developed crypto community where you can book, prepay and purchase gifts in tourist gift shops for crypto. Actually, it’s not the only Australian resort where tourist-oriented communities adopt digital currencies. Gladstone, Capricorn and Bundaberg are going for it, too, and spearheading cryptocurrency tourism in the country.
As the local news outlet reports, retailers across Australia are gradually beginning to accept digital currency, from cafes in Launceston, Tasmania to hairdressers in Burleigh on Queensland's Gold Coast, and this is where Agnes Water comes into the picture, too.
For this resort, everything started with 10 businesses that had the "digital traveller" in mind. The local entrepreneurs wanted to see how those digital travellers would get there, where they would stay, what they would do, what they would purchase, and then what opportunities this would present for the crypto ecosystem.
When the billboard sprang up near the town centre, locals joked about "buying bait with bitcoin". However, now more than 30 businesses in Agnes Water accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment, with the beach community billing itself as Australia's first "digital currency-friendly" tourist town.
Puerto Rico, project Sol
Now, let’s discuss one of the crypto utopias out there: the project Sol in Puerto Rico. This playground for Bitcoin millionaires is the source of a good deal of negative press for its neo-colonial setup and somewhat controversial frontrunners. However, the leaders of the movement attempt to show the world what a town working on blockchain technology could look like.
So, what is this project all about? In the U.S., there are a dozen entrepreneurs turned millionaires by blockchain and cryptocurrencies. They are selling their property in California to establish residency on the Caribbean island in hopes of avoiding federal taxes on their growing fortunes. In San Juan, they want to build a crypto utopia, a new city where the money is virtual and the contracts are public.
After Hurricane Maria decimated Puerto Rico’s infrastructure, Pierce Brock, one of the community’s leaders, saw an opportunity to create a crypto paradise there. Together with the other new colonists, he moved to the region to talk to the municipality about building their airport and docks as well as integrating payment systems of local hotels and museums with crypto.
The last time the world heard from this community, they were talking to the local council about establishing their own crypto bank.
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