Building Bitcoin communities around the world is discussed by the founders of Bitcoin Beach El Salavdor, Bitcoin Ekasi in South Africa, Dakar Bitcoin Days in Senegal, and Global Bitcoin Fest.
How does one go about establishing a Bitcoin community? Where do I begin? Where do I even begin? And what are the most effective methods?
Cointelegraph spoke with Bitcoin community builders from all over the world to shed light on a rapidly growing phenomenon in the Bitcoin world.
Circular-based Bitcoin economies and community projects have sprouted up all over the world, from Indonesia to South Africa to El Salvador and the Congo. Cointelegraph asked successful community-focused Bitcoiners how to kickstart a Bitcoin circular economy, as well as what advice they’d give to enthusiasts looking to replicate the success of projects like Bitcoin Beach, El Zonte.
Lightning is the starting point for Bitcoin community project leader Mike Peterson. In the sleepy surf town of El Zonte, El Salvador, Peterson pioneered the Bitcoin Beach project. The circular economy energized an entire nation, eventually leading to the adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender in El Salvador in 2021. According to Peterson, Cointelegraph:
“Lightning is required for people to transact and for a circular economy to be built.” It absolutely must be built on lightning. [..] You must get people to transact.”
The second layer Lightning Network is a payment system based on Bitcoin. El Chivo is one of the most popular Lightning-enabled Bitcoin wallets in El Salvador, though it has had issues since its launch. Bitcoin enthusiasts around the world use Wallet of Satoshi, Muun Wallet, CoinCorner, or Blue Wallet to instantly transact with one another. Peterson went on:
“When they make that first transaction and see how easy it is and that they’ve actually sent value from one person to another in like a second time for almost no fees, that’s when the light bulb goes off and they realize the value that has.”
Finally, starting with Lightning shows newcomers that Bitcoin can be simple and even enjoyable. CoinCorner, a United Kingdom-based exchange, has found inventive ways to demonstrate the Lightning Network in the Isle of Man, where there is a burgeoning Bitcoin community.
Hermann Vivier, the founder of Bitcoin Ekasi in South Africa’s Western Cape, shared some tips for establishing a Bitcoin economy. First, while it’s critical to “put one foot in front of the other” and “just start,” he suggests looking for a pre-existing community to tap into:
“We started with something that already existed and built the Bitcoin community on top of it.”
Bitcoin Ekasi is a township project that keeps kids away from gangs at school and in the Atlantic waves of South Africa, where they learn lifeguarding and surf skills. Vivier incorporates Bitcoin into the children’s education.
Furthermore, Vivier stated that it is critical to keep things simple. He advised people to stick with Bitcoin. His dedication to this community project has transformed him into a “Bitcoin maximalist,” as it aids in avoiding the risk of cryptocurrency scams, whereas blockchain buzzwords can stymie progress:
“I would say focus solely on Bitcoin.” And if there was something better than Bitcoin out there, you should focus on it. But for the time being, Bitcoin is the king.”
“You cannot create a community if you aren’t capable of answering people’s questions—and that requires a wide range of knowledge,” Nourou, founder of Bitcoin Senegal, a community-led Bitcoin project in West Africa, told Cointelegraph.
Iman Yudha, who leads an Indonesian group of crypto and Bitcoin enthusiasts, agrees. He advised Cointelegraph to “get educated first-before making any decisions.” That is my personal viewpoint.”
After establishing a solid foundation of fundamental knowledge about Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and security. Nourou advises beginning discussions about Bitcoin with close relatives:
“Start with your family; if you can’t persuade your mother, brother, sister, cousins, and so on, it’s a bad start.”
He observes that the next step varies according to culture, business practice, and environment. In Senegal, “the wealthiest roughly define fashion and define trends.” As a result, people tend to imitate them.” As a result, Nourou attempted to direct his Bitcoin communication to those communities first. In addition, on December 2nd, Nourou will host West Africa’s first major Bitcoin conference, Dakar Bitcoin Days, in West Africa’s largest theater.
Lukas, a co-founder of Global Bitcoin Fest — which holds marathon Twitter Spaces for people all around the world — again encourages Bitcoin enthusiasts to focus on the people. It can be “lonely” in the land of Bitcoin, he told Cointelegraph, so finding a team with shared values can spur things along. He shared an example:
“It’s a conversation I recently had with two guys in Zimbabwe.” They want to launch a [project] there. He wanted to do it, but he was by himself. […] Then he met Metamorphoses, another great maxi, and they’re forming a team — and the energy has changed completely.”
Yudha added that energy and enthusiasm are essential, and that community builders should avoid being “toxic” as much as possible.
In summary, these Bitcoin pioneers advise finding like-minded individuals to collaborate with, starting small, leveraging existing communities, knowing and understanding the subject matter, and not overextending. The simplest way to accomplish this is to concentrate solely on Bitcoin. And, to get people interested and transacting, encourage them to use the Lightning Network, which is what gives people their own light bulb moment.