I’ve dedicated the last decade of my life to philanthropy. But since launching the Built With Bitcoin Foundation with my co-founder, Ray Youssef, I’ve had the opportunity to learn more about what Bitcoin can do for the people who need it most. I can only speak based on my experiences and from the conversations I’ve had with the communities I’ve served, but I’ve seen first-hand how Bitcoin can be a catalyst toward freedom.
In building Bitcoin communities, one important lesson I’ve learned is that people won’t adopt something they don’t understand. Therefore, within the villages we work, we not only build schools, but we build communities — providing resources and education for locals, showing them how bitcoin can help and enrich their daily lives and how it could also be a means of finally attaining financial freedom.
Our recent project in El Salvador can speak to this. In late 2021, we had the opportunity to work alongside Bitcoin Magazine to raise funds for a community two-and-a-half hours outside San Salvador called Isla Tasajera. In this community of 1,500+ people, there is only one school, no banks, no hospitals and no supermarkets. Our mission was to transform the Tasajera Island community by repairing the local school, providing resources for financial education and access to clean water, technology and transportation through a Bitcoin boat. Through the power of Bitcoin and the generous Bitcoin Magazine community, we were able to accomplish this and lay the groundwork for a community that will continue to thrive long after our work is no longer needed.
But the success of any community extends far beyond just one project. The most significant metric of success is the relationship that we are able to create with those living in these communities. It’s about building a project that is sustainable and lasts for generations to come.
It was Isla Tasajera’s community leader, Don Walter, who told us they were willing and ready to work with Bitcoin. On the island, there are only two types of jobs: “tortuga” (turtle) farmers or fishermen. Walter shared that the tortuga farmers were eager to learn how they could use bitcoin to increase their earnings, help with remittance and increase the long-term value of the $300 they made each month during tortuga season, which lasts June through December. Knowing very little about Bitcoin, they were willing to put their trust in us to show them the way towards a better quality of life. That’s the most powerful thing about Bitcoin: it has the power to change lives for the better.
I look forward to the opportunity to share more of our stories working with communities all around the world on the Genesis Stage at this year’s Bitcoin 2022 Conference. Because all of us can do better. We can all listen, learn and understand more by doing this together. In my personal belief, this is what Satoshi Nakamoto wanted Bitcoin user interactions to be: person to person, human being to human being, community to community.
This is a guest post by Yusuf Nessary. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.