Bitcoin is for those who need it, others need time to learn: Surfin Bitcoin Panel

Bitcoin (BTC) is there for those who need it most; the rest may need time to learn. This message resonated in the casino’s boardroom during a panel at Surfin Bitcoin, a Bitcoin-only conference in Biarritz, France on August 26.

Panelists Ben Perrin, a Bitcoin Youtuber; Ernesto Hernandez, Salvadoran business consultant; and Carol from the popular Brazilian Youtube channel “Area Bitcoin” touched on a delicate subject: “Victims of the banking system in the world: inflation, censorship”. Bitcoin’s role in such test environments has been questioned.

From left to right: Hall, Perrin, Carol and Hernandez

The panelists unloaded experiences, evidence and anecdotes from their respective countries: Perrin from Canada, Hernandez from El Salvador and Carol from Brazil to address the topic. Hernandez, for example, was quick to illustrate that in El Salvador Bitcoin is not a silver bullet.

The tiny Central American country introduced “Ley Bitcoin” in 2021, but “let’s not forget that 8 out of 10 Salvadorans were unbanked,” he explained. “It’s a big leap for people to buy a house – or even buy groceries,” without prior knowledge of how banking or financial services work.

Additionally, the government-backed Chivo app faced criticism and even attacks from protesters when it was launched. The government app is still under surveillance. During the Q&A session, Bitcoin podcaster Rikki — who spent 45 days living off Bitcoin alone with his partner Laura — asked Hernandez about moving Bitcoin to El Salvador.

Rikki cited a report regarding El Salvador and remittances, which, while positive, shows that Bitcoin is severely underutilized for remittance payments. Ernesto explained that currently, interest in El Salvador tends to come from foreign investors and bitcoin enthusiasts, as opposed to Salvadoran workers living abroad sending money home. Ultimately, the real challenge is educating Salvadorans on the benefits of using Bitcoin as a remittance tool.

Nonetheless, he said with a smile that it is “fun” to see Salvadorans who have never used banking before in their life are now using Bitcoin on the Chivo app, saving and spending money. Also, the SEO words “invest in El Salvador” did not exist before La Ley Bitcoin. Bitcoin has really put the country on the world map and, by proxy, on the World Wide Web, he explained.

“Victims” of the bank

Carol, whose Youtube channel recently became a Bitcoin-only channel, explained that the victimization of Brazilians by central banks is historic. Brazil has endured “Nine currencies in the last hundred years, 8 died due to hyperinflation due to money printing and mismanagement.” Moreover, while the real, the current national currency of Brazil, is 27 years old, it “has already depreciated by 86%”. Bitcoin is a way to opt out of such a system.

Ben Perrin referred to the “biggest protests in Canadian history,” the Canada Truckers Protests, also known as the “Freedom Convoy.” He illustrated that sometimes the banking system targets specific individuals or groups. Moreover, he alluded to the collusion between the banking system and governments:

“Our media in Canada is directly subsidized by the government. They receive billions of dollars every year. It helps if you have a specific message you want to get across and you are the one funding the ones responsible for getting that message out to people.

Overall, he also conceded that sometimes the banking system doesn’t work, and it’s not anyone’s fault or an intended consequence. In El Salvador, for example, Hernandez shared that banks only had seven days to implement Bitcoin in their new system — so it’s no wonder that sometimes the system makes mistakes, Ernesto explained.

In bear markets

On an optimistic note, Perrin said bear markets are for building and there is amazing innovation afoot in 2022. Despite this, Bitcoin is living in a bubble unknown or ignored by the rest of the world. Carol added that Bitcoin is most “under attack” during bear markets, but it also gives Bitcoin time to breathe and is a reminder to people to take their time:

“The fiat mindset is a short-term mindset. Everything is fast and has to be now-tomorrow-instantly. Fiat discriminates, but anyone can use bitcoin. When you start thinking in bitcoin, you start thinking about all your choices in life.

Carol compared the manipulation of money by the government to a way of manipulating mentalities. Even in high inflation environments, such as its home country of Brazil, Bitcoin adoption is still slow. The challenge for educators like herself, Perrin, and Hernandez, then, is to get people to understand that fiat money has no backing.

Related: Pro-Blockchain Narratives Are Hindering Bitcoin Adoption, Says StackinSat Founder

Finally, Hernandez echoed that education continues to be the most important part of bitcoin adoption, but technology remains a challenge. He notes that “if you grab a knife from the opposite side, you will cut your hand”. You have to learn how to use the knife.

He said small seeds of adoption are now germinating in the developing world: he cited the example of Machankura, the company bringing Bitcoin over Lightning to those without an internet connection in Africa. The group has Support names like Jack Dorsey.

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