A small tourist town in Honduras has started accepting bitcoin payments as part of the “Bitcoin Valley” initiative, which aims to increase tourism income for 60 local businesses.
Some Santa Lucia residents, such as shopping mall owner Cesar Andino, hope the initiative will open up more opportunities for businesses in the area and “attract more people who want to use this currency,” according to report from the Honduran media La Prensa. Andino added:
“Accepting bitcoin will enable us to open another market and gain more customers. We must globalize. We cannot close ourselves off to technology, and we cannot be behind when other countries are already doing so.”
The program began on July 28, allowing customers in stores in the region to pay in US dollars, Honduran lempira or bitcoin (BTC).
The Santa Lucia city government developed the Bitcoin Valley program in collaboration with cryptocurrency exchange Coincaex, Blockchain Honduras, and the Technological University of Honduras.
Coincaex provides the necessary equipment and services to make cryptocurrency payments, and Blockchain Honduras provides training on the use of cryptocurrency wallets.
Honduras Launches ‘Bitcoin Valley’
Over 60 businesses accepted #bitcoin in the small town of Santa Lucia. They will receive training in new technology and how to market their products and services. https://t.co/O8nh543ehG
— DocumentingBitcoin (@DocumentingBTC) July 29, 2022
Honduras launches “Bitcoin Valley”. More than 60 businesses have accepted #bitcoin in the small town of Santa Lucia. They will receive training on the new technology and how to market their products and services.https://t.co/O8nh543ehG — Documenting Bitcoin (@DocumentingBTC) July 29, 2022
La Prensa explains that while customers can pay for their goods and services in BTC, they will send the coins to the Coincaex exchange. The exchange then immediately sends the BTC value in Lempira to the trader to help them avoid losses due to price volatility. Therefore, traders do not receive BTC directly as payment under this system.
Local business owners are hoping Bitcoin Valley will boost tourism spending in the tropical coastal country, which has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Honduras enjoyed about $556 million in annual tourism spending in 2019 before falling more than 66% in 2020, to $189 million, according to data from Macrotrends, a global economic tracker.
Honduras joins a handful of countries in the region that have launched similar programs so people can legally pay for goods and services with cryptocurrencies.
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El Salvador adopted BTC as a legal proposition in 2021 and has made a nationwide effort to educate residents about its uses. The country has launched a similar tourism center, “ Bitcoin Beach in the town of El Zonte.
Guatemala launched its “Bitcoin Lake” initiative at tourist spots around Lake Atitlan in the Sierra Madre mountains. Mayor Cesar Piedrasanta de Panajachel, in the region, also used bitcoins for energy that he believed would be useless and wasted.