Bitek CEO talks spreading Bitcoin SV news in Latin America

Latin America is one of the regions where cryptocurrencies are expected to make the most impact. With a high population of unbanked people, an expensive and inaccessible financial industry and political instability in some countries, cryptos have been a godsend for many. CoinGeek’s Becky Liggero caught up with Boris Javier Barrera, the CEO of Bitek, a Colombian payments processor that’s bringing the benefits of cryptos to the people of South America.

Speaking during the Expo-Bitcoin International conference held in Bogota, Colombia, Barrera stated that he believes Bitcoin is already making its mark in the country. The event, which his company organized, did more than just bring together the BSV community; it allowed the attendants to use BSV for payments, with everything in the conference being sold in crypto.

The conference also brought all the leading minds in the BSV community together, from the Founding President of the Bitcoin Association Jimmy Nguyen to nChain CTO Steve Shadders. However, for Barrera, the highlight was seeing Bitcoin creator, Dr. Craig Wright in person.

Dr. Wright’s personality was as endearing as his intellect, Barrera told CoinGeek. Even when some people couldn’t quite comprehend everything he was talking about, they were just happy to listen to him, take pictures with him and just interact with him.

Colombia is one of the largest crypto communities in the Latin American region, he continued. And there’s even more potential for cryptos as more people recognize the freedom that they offer.

“In 2017, it is estimated that almost 2% of the GDP of Colombia was represented by Bitcoin transactions. This is huge,” he remarked.

However, unfortunately for many Colombians, what they have been referring to as Bitcoin is the corrupted SegWitCoin (BTC), which is slow and expensive. Barrera, through his company Bitek, is changing this narrative by introducing more people to Bitcoin SV, the only Bitcoin project that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original vision.

Bitcoin, the original version is fast, reliable and very, very cheap in fees. Bitcoin SV is the only cryptocurrency in the world which follows the original protocol of Bitcoin, of the original whitepaper by Satoshi Nakamoto.

Ryan X. Charles talks making crypto payments easily available to all

While the number of cryptocurrency users increases by the day, its use for day-to-day payments has yet to take off. This is largely due to a lack of consumer-facing applications that can simplify the crypto payments process, leading many merchants to stay away from crypto. This is a narrative that Ryan X. Charles, the founder and CEO of online payments startup Money Button, is working hard to change. In an interview with CoinGeek’s Becky Liggero, Charles explained how cryptos are changing the lives of millions in Latin America and why Facebook’s crypto project is setting itself up to fail.

“Fundamentally, what we are trying to do with Money Button is improve the user experience of Bitcoin,” Charles explained. The company is building solutions that enable the average crypto fan to be able to use crypto with a few clicks.

Already, there are quite a number of applications that use Money Button, and they have all had nothing but praise for its efficiency.

“Paymail is just an extension of everything we are doing to make Bitcoin wallets interoperable with each other and with exchanges in a user friendly way. We are just trying to make everything as easy as possible so that normal people can start getting the benefits of Bitcoin,” Charles explained.

Paymail launched three months ago, promising to do for Bitcoin what email addresses did for the Internet. While the current Bitcoin addresses contain very long and random characters, Paymail substitutes them for readable names, akin to email addresses. 

Charles also delved into the continued uptake of Bitcoin SV and other cryptos in the Latin American region, stating that they offer the region a way out after decades of economic upheavals.

“People there use Bitcoin as a way to basically hedge out of their local currencies,” he stated, giving Venezuela as one of the examples. Despite having rich oil reserves, political instability has seen the country register over one million percent inflation in the past year. This has greatly decreased the value of their currency, and Bitcoin has been the best, if not only, viable alternative.

Bitcoin is also introducing transparency, especially in government processes. And while this may be misread as an anti-government chant, Charles believes that Bitcoin is here to assist the government, not topple it.

“We’re going to help governments collect taxes, but then also be held accountable that they spend that money correctly.”

And despite the initial hype that Libra attracted, Charles believes that Facebook missed the big picture and failed to understand what Bitcoin seeks to do. Bitcoin is an economic system where businesses that solve people’s problems like identity and contracts can be built.

He concluded, “It’s great to see that they are open to this kind of technology, but we are significantly ahead of them. But it’s only a matter of time and they’ll come around. We can help them if they reach out.”

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Expo-Bitcoin International 2019 brings advocates of real Bitcoin to Latin America

For the supporters of the original Bitcoin, as envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto, here’s a challenge for you: can you live in a space where everything uses Bitcoin SV for a week?

That’s just one of the things that attendees can expect at the upcoming Expo-Bitcoin International 2019 in Bogota, Colombia—the first of its kind to take place in Latin America. The five-day conference features a host of opportunities for both the Bitcoin society and cryptocurrency enthusiasts alike to discuss adoption and learn “what Bitcoin already is.”

Event organizer Bitek describes Expo-Bitcoin as “a marketplace that functions as a small world where Bitcoin is the only payment method.” In an interview with CoinGeek, CEO Boris Javier Barrera Garcia explains:

“People will have the opportunity to live five days of a socio-economic experiment in a space where everything uses Bitcoin (SV); the reality is that a new community is being shaped by this libertarian money. This is really disruptive, so we have made a real bet for Bitcoin SV from the very beginning, since you cannot buy your tickets for the Arena but by using Bitcoin SV and everything you see at the Exhibit, you will be able to purchase using BSV—other cryptos also allowed depending on the merchant but no fiat currency is allowed. In the end, we want to demonstrate that markets can work in compliance with legal rules using Bitcoin as a mean of exchange.”

Expo-Bitcoin International 2019 will take place on June 19-23 at the Corferias, the international convention center that has hosted events in the country since 1954. Among the key features of this landmark event is The Marketplace, which has over 200 commercial stands offering products for sale with BSV, and The Bitcoin Arena, where delegates can watch as the brightest minds of the BSV society discuss Satoshi’s vision—from Bitcoin creator Dr. Craig Wright and Founding President of the Bitcoin Association Jimmy Nguyen, to BSV experts including MoneyButton CEO Ryan X. Charles, nChain CTO Steve Shadders, HandCash CEO Alex Agut, and other thought leaders like Coinlogiq CEO Dwayne Golden Senior, NEM Foundation Council Manager Pedro E. Gutierrez, medical surgeon Dr. Miguel Parra Saavedra, and Bitcoin advocate Connor Murray, among others.

“The Bitcoin Arena is the Agora of the modern economic thinkers. We brought the best, those who understood the importance of Bitcoin and the instrumental role of a stable protocol in Bitcoin,” Garcia says. “Many others fell in the way of confusion, but a remnant stays with the flag of this Libertarian, respectful of the law, peer to peer, Caesar-less money. That discussion not only about the technical topics but the philosophical views of Bitcoin have amazing importance that history will ponder.”

The event, as Garcia puts it, is all about allowing the laymen to experience Bitcoin in a marketplace where merchants are protected “as they would be in the real world by third parties like Bitek.” It’s also the perfect opportunity for network marketers in Colombia “who need to understand that Bitcoin is money, not another ‘get rich fast’ scheme.”

He notes, “We at Bitek always believed that real adoption needs payment processors since Bitcoin is not legal tender, most of the commerce would need to have cash flow in their local currency and that, among other reasons is why they are afraid to receive Bitcoin openly as a mean of exchange, so having POS applications with payment processing is absolutely necessary in this early stages.”

Colombia is just the first for Expo-Bitcoin International. Bitek plans to hold the event every two years going forward. According to Garcia, “We are Colombians, we love our country and we think this is an important door to Latin America. Beyond that fact, being objective, Colombia has the fifth largest bitcoin community in Latin America, and the third fastest growing in volume of Bitcoin transactions. And Bogota is the neuralgic center of this fever. We need to hit in Bogota first, but also Medellin is a very important node in this ecosystem, we plan to be there in the future. Other cities in Latin America are very important so we think in the future we have a lot of places to look at.”

It’s not too late to join this history-making conference. Get your tickets now, and seize the opportunity to learn more about BSV and find out all the ways it will change the future.