A small town in the mountains, 20 minutes from the capital Tegucigalpa, has turned into a bitcoin city.
Business owners large and small in Santa Lucia are adjusting to using cryptocurrencies as payment in hopes of attracting more tourists.
“This will open up more opportunities and attract more people who want to use this currency,” said Cesar Andino, director of the Los Robles shopping center.
The Bitcoin Valley project aims to initially create 60 companies that will use cryptocurrencies to promote their products and services in the hope of expanding this practice to more companies and neighboring regions.
The initiative is developed jointly by the Blockchain Honduras organization, the Guatemalan consortium of cryptocurrency exchanges Coincaex, the Technological University of Honduras and the municipality of Santa Lucia.
Rubén Carbajal Velasquez, a professor at the University of Technology, said: “The Santa Lucia community will be trained in the use and management of cryptocurrencies, incorporating them into various businesses in the region, and developing crypto tourism.”
While some countries in Latin America are exploring the potential of cryptocurrencies, there are risks.
In September 2021, El Salvador adopted bitcoin as a legal currency, having its own “bitcoin beach” in the city of El Zonte, which is a popular surf spot.
The Central American nation’s bet on bitcoin has been thwarted by a downturn in the cryptocurrency market and skepticism from multilateral lenders and rating agencies. His publicly stated assets of $105 million are now worth only about $57 million.
To deal with volatility, the Honduran “Bitcoin Valley” will “enable merchants to receive instant payments in local currency, eliminating the risk of cryptocurrency fluctuations,” said Leonardo Paguada, founder of Block Chain Honduras.
Critics of bitcoin adoption warn that such transactions could contribute to money laundering and financial instability, as well as deepen the digital divide, as poorer sections of society may find it difficult to access digital technologies.