The father of El Salvador’s Bitcoin beach received an anonymous cryptocurrency donation through which he started the beach. The large donation sent to Michael Peterson helped El Zonte to adopt the cryptocurrencies on a large scale.

Michael Peterson, now 47 years old, went to the beach coast of El Salvador 17 years ago for a surfing trip and fell in love with it. The entire Peterson family started to split their time living in California and El Salvador. Through Peterson’s Evangelical Christian church, the family supported several different missionary groups and development projects that were on the smaller side.

The same church is the one that put Michael Peterson in a position to convert El Zonte into the Bitcoin Beach that we know today. The association with the church is why Michael Peterson is referred to as the Father of the Bitcoin beach.

Today, almost all households of the town and 48 local businesses use bitcoin for their payments and transactions. The El Salvador strip completely converted to crypto payments thanks to Michael Peterson.

The country’s response to the bitcoin adaptation was rapid yet unexpected. It started in 2019 when someone living in California approached El Zonte to donate his bitcoin treasure. It was request so that the country can create a local economy that is run on bitcoin. The donation was made through Peterson’s church and the donator was brought in touch with Michael Peterson through the church as well to maintain anonymity.

Peterson’s initial response was to think that he was being scammed and was about to reject the proposal. However, the idea of transforming El Zonte into a crypto-payment place made him rethink the offer. The transformation would allow all citizens of El Zonte to equally participate on the playing field, unlike the discrimination that fiat currency brings.

Peterson introduced the concept of replacing fiat with bitcoin to the citizens by referring it to as ‘magic money’. The idea really took into effect in 2020 during the covid-19 pandemic when Peterson gave every family on the strip $35 in bitcoin every month. He did it via an app that was created for minute transactions of the digital currency. Soon after, the stores in El Zonte wanted to include cryptocurrency payments in their system, and so, the Bitcoin Beach Wallet was launched.


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