The week started with central bankers and financial authorities from 44 countries arriving in El Salvador. The mainstream media ignored it completely. The IMF started sweating. President Bukele started meme-ing. Everybody assumed they were there to learn about bitcoin. It was so obvious that nobody questioned it.
Related Reading | El Salvador Doubles Down, Buys 500 BTC Amid Dip
Well, as it turns out, the representatives were there for an annual event by the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI). The organization describes its objective as, “Empowering policymakers & regulatory institutions to advance financial inclusion for the poorest populations.” On the first three days, the central bankers saw panels and formed working groups in the Sheraton Presidente Hotel in San Salvador. On the fourth day, they went to Bitcoin Beach, visited the Hope House, and bought everything with Lightning payments.
— Martell Fox (@Martellfox) May 20, 2022
The event’s title was “Digital Financial Services & SME Finance Working Group Meetings,” and the AFI described its objectives alluding, but never mentioning bitcoin:
“The working groups are anticipated to offer practical thought leadership and regulatory guidance on crucial and unsolved policy issues in the form of policy models, frameworks, and toolkits as a result of this collaboration and constitute the content backbone of AFI. The meetings also align with El Salvador’s recently launched national financial inclusion strategy which has digitization and access to finance to small businesses as a priority.”
And all the Central Bankers screamed…. pic.twitter.com/MxdOrYD3lc
— Bitcoin Beach (@Bitcoinbeach) May 20, 2022
In any case, as the video above shows, all the central bankers screamed “bitcoin!”
What Did The Central Bankers Actually Do?
From the ground, this Galoy report on the event has the goods. “Through firsthand experience, this group of central bankers is seeing what Bitcoin can do for people left out of the current financial system,” is their conclusion. One of the panels the central bankers saw on those first few days was about the subject at hand.
“There was one Bitcoin session. Roman Martinez (Chimbera) and Nicolas Burtey shared the story of Bitcoin Beach and provided an introduction to Bitcoin and the Lightning Network”
On those first few days, the central bankers got bitcoin wallets set up.“Outside the conference room the Bitcoin Beach Wallet team set up tables where attendees were shown how to download and use a Lightning wallet.” Those would come in handy on the fourth day, when the organizers took them to El Zonte AKA Bitcoin Beach. Over there, the central bankers paid for everything with their new wallets and “learned how to exchange Bitcoin for dollars at an ATM.”
What a historic day!! Who could’ve thought Central Bankers would have their first experience with #Bitcoin using Bitcoin Beach Wallet and in El Zonte @bitcoinbeach where everything started. This is what financial inclusion looks like! pic.twitter.com/krg8R26mXi
— Bitcoin Beach Wallet (@BTCBeachWallet) May 20, 2022
In a tweet, the Bitcoin Beach Wallet team shared some pictures and reported, “What a historic day!! Who could’ve thought Central Bankers would have their first experience with Bitcoin using Bitcoin Beach Wallet and in El Zonte, where everything started. This is what financial inclusion looks like!”
BTC price chart for 05/20/2022 on Bitfinex | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com
A Troyan Horse
The central bankers came looking for financial inclusion and they got it in spades. It’s as Bitcoinist said in our first report about the situation:
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“El Salvador which is the first country to accept Bitcoin as legal tender will no doubt be the footprint of adoption for other countries interested in making such a move. It is still less than a year after the implementation but the president revealed that they would be discussing how beneficial using BTC as legal tender had been for the country and its citizens.”
You can’t unring a bell. Those central bankers from 44 countries where the traditional banking system failed to accomplish its goals, now know about bitcoin. They’ve seen the future and there’s no turning back. We’ll feel the ripples from this event soon enough.
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