Inside Bitcoin Lake: Lessons From My Months As A Volunteer With The Guatemalan Breakthrough Project

A volunteer from the Bitcoin Lake Guatemala project shares the fruits of work on this circular economy.

Bitcoin is a disruptive technology that has emerged as a fundamental component of the financial industry. My work at a Bitcoin friendly company has allowed me to observe the many ways Bitcoin is changing the industry. Wanting to contribute more, I started a Bitcoin-only journey and joined the non-profit project, Bitcoin Lake.

Located in Panajachel, Guatemala, Bitcoin Lake was launched just over a year ago. The project aims to create a circular economy powered by Bitcoin, providing new and accessible solutions for both unbanked and unbanked merchants. In Guatemala, approximately 60% of the adult population does not have access to formal financial services, and the Bitcoin Lake initiative for onboard traders is having a significant impact on the local community.

I have seen firsthand that the project has successfully engaged over 60 merchants, 90% of which are unbanked and only accept cash and bitcoins. The project is constantly looking for support and ways to improve the Bitcoiner experience there. Bitcoin tuk tuks (see image one below) and Bitcoin boats (smartly named “Peer To Peer”) are examples of such initiatives.

Image one: A Bitcoin themed version of a tuk tuk, a very common vehicle in Panajachel.

Bitcoin Lake has made significant strides in a short period of time. Business owners are amazed by the ease of use of Bitcoin, and educational projects have had tremendous success. Joshua Education CenterGuatemala’s first school to accept “Mi Prime Bitcoincourse, has seen its students gain an extraordinary understanding of Bitcoin. The progress and impact of Bitcoin Lake is significant and an inspiration to everyone.

During my first month of volunteering with Bitcoin Lake, my understanding of and dedication to Bitcoin has grown significantly. As one of my first assignments, I collected data to assess progress made in one year. As shown in figures two, three and four below, the graph depicts the flow of bitcoins in the project and the number of transactions completed in the past year, showing significant growth.

Figure two: 4,674 transactions were made in 2022, per Bitcoin Beach Wallet data
Figure three: Bitcoin Lake has a Bitcoin volume of 7.39 BTC in 2022, per Bitcoin Beach Wallet data

I also started teaching a “Bitcoin Mi Primer” course at a local school, where it was great to see kids understand the concept of money and the potential benefits of Bitcoin. In January, we held our first meeting with 10 attendees, and we plan to host more events in the future. We have also gathered orange local traders and met Bitcoiners from around 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 was a challenge for the Bitcoin industry, with much lost trust and a hard-hit bear market. However, we persisted and continued to focus on growth and adoption. Even with the uncertainty and skepticism of those who don’t understand Bitcoin, more and more people are taking the time to study it and recognize its value. Merchants realized they could benefit from holding bitcoins instead of cashing out instantly, and locals became more familiar with Bitcoins, 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 benefiting from using this technology. As Pedro explains, accommodating credit card payments comes with additional fees and a slow checkout process, whereas opting for Bitcoin provides an instant, cheaper, and more efficient way with the Lightning Network.

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

Bitcoin Lake has made great strides in promoting a circular economy with Bitcoin. I encourage anyone interested in supporting adoption and experiencing the beautiful scenery, culture and hospitality of Panajachel to visit us. You will be amazed at the progress we have made, and merchants will be happy to receive your sat. Together, we can create a better future with Bitcoin.

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

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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