El Salvador set to build central America’s first wave park, the Bitcoin beach

  • El Salvador will soon begin developing the Bitcoin Beach to make it a global surfers’ and tourist destination.
  • Bitcoin Beach is where the country’s Bitcoin initiatives originated and have continued to grow despite wide reproach.

The surfing hotspot of El Zonte in El Salvador, where the Bitcoin dream was birthed, will now be the first wave park in all of Central America. The country will soon initiate construction of the park, popularly known as “Bitcoin Beach,” to bring in more surfers to its waters.

The Bitcoin Beach project began three years ago, following an anonymous donation of the digital currency to El Zonte beach town. Thereafter, businesses and tourists in the area increasingly took up Bitcoin to conduct transactions in beach huts or for other local expenses. Employees in the town receive their salaries in digital currency. The name Bitcoin Beach was thus cemented as an open tribute to the town’s acceptance of the currency as payment.

All this took place independent of the government’s involvement. And despite its remoteness, the Bitcoin Beach soon garnered attention, effectively contributing to a nationwide dynamic. In Sept. 2021, under the leadership of President Nayib Bukele, El Salvador adopted Bitcoin as legal tender. The Bitcoin Beach now touts itself as:

The little community that helped upend the world’s monetary system.

El Salvador’s upcoming Bitcoin beach

El Salvador is now looking to power the Bitcoin movement further by initiating additional developments of the Bitcoin beach. Massive adoption of the digital currency is likely seen as the town is a popular destination for surfers worldwide. Amateur and professional surfers will be welcomed. The latter category includes Olympics trainees since surfing was officially added to the sporting menu of the 2020 Tokyo games.

As it has been the norm, tourists and surfers looking to enjoy the upcoming new surfing park will make payments in Bitcoin. The Bitcoin acceptance movement in El Salvador says this project will make the country a tourism hub for surfing – something that is already substantial with the Surf City movement.

Already, surfers worldwide have begun recognition of the lead cryptocurrency as a payment option. Iconic American surfer Kelly Slater, reportedly the best professional surfer of all time, has expressed great interest in crypto and Bitcoin.

The pros and cons

Beyond tourism, El Salvador took up Bitcoin to save hundreds of millions paid every year as commission for international remittances. The cryptocurrency emerged as a cheaper method to send money home from abroad for a country whose GDP is 20 percent reliant on such monies. 

Moreover, supporters said it would increase access to financial services for the unbanked. 

Nonetheless, critics, among them the International Monetary Fund, are still adamant that El Salvador could face serious financial instability with Bitcoin as legal tender. The country’s Bitcoin reserve has already experienced a $12 million loss since September. The country could also be propagating financial crimes such as money laundering, skeptics say. Even more, nearly half of the country’s population has no internet access, and many more have sporadic access. The internet is an indispensable enabler of a Bitcoin ecosystem.

Related: El Salvador’s Bitcoin stash registers a $12M loss while Microstrategy’s marks a 44% gain

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