South Carolina Delegation Returns From Bitcoin Exploratory Trip in El Salvador
October 3, 2022
A South Carolina delegation made up of a diverse group of business leaders, rural health officials and individuals interested in the expansion of cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies, including State Treasurer Curtis Loftis, recently returned from an exploratory trip to El Salvador, the first country in the world to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender.
During their five-day visit, the group traveled from one side of the country to the other as they gathered information, met with government officials and sought to understand the changes this Central American country has made to embrace Bitcoin and educate its citizens about its use.
“What we witnessed in El Salvador is very useful in our efforts to encourage more support and understanding for digital assets and emerging technologies here in South Carolina,” said Dennis Fassuliotis, President of the South Carolina Emerging Technologies Association (SCETA). “We heard multiple stories about how street vendors have embraced this technology and significantly grown their businesses as a result. While there are a number of variables to consider, it’s exciting to ponder the prospects of how South Carolinians, especially those in our rural communities, might also benefit from using Bitcoin.”
The State Treasurer participated in the fact-finding trip as his office was recently charged by the General Assembly to explore the growing development and potential adoption of digital assets and identify ways stakeholders across the state – including individuals, private businesses and state and local government entities – can benefit from the expanded use of these technologies.
During the visit, Treasurer Loftis and the delegation met with government officials about the country’s adoption of Bitcoin. They also observed the Mi Primer Bitcoin education program firsthand and participated with the teachers and industry experts from around the world, administering a final exam to the students completing a 10-week financial literacy program that included how to use Bitcoin for daily transactions and commencement ceremonies.
“El Salvador is a rapidly evolving country that has taken an aggressive approach to transform a largely unbanked population into one that is now embracing the use of Bitcoin,” said Treasurer Loftis. “My goal was to see how this bold initiative was working, and I was pleasantly surprised.”
In a country racked by four generations of civil strife, governmental changes and the exodus of almost 20% of its population for better lives elsewhere, the government’s efforts to revive its economy is beginning to show positive results as it marked the one-year anniversary of Bitcoin as legal tender. In fact, one in five Salvadorians are regularly using Bitcoin and that number is expected to rise as the government institutes new policies and procedures to clarify and expand usage.
“When I spoke with many of the small business owners, they remain interested in Bitcoin usage and are hoping that its expansion will continue for the foreseeable future,” Loftis added.
A presentation capturing the efforts in El Salvador as well as Treasurer Loftis’ insights about digital assets' potential impact on the Palmetto State are just part of an exciting agenda planned for the South Carolina Bitcoin Blockchain Conference in Charleston in October. Individuals representing some of the brightest minds in the Bitcoin and blockchain technology industry will be sharing their insights on Bitcoin’s impact on energy, education, economic development, banking and more.
To register for the conference, visit SCBlockchainWeek.com.
Editor’s Note: No state tax dollars were used to fund Treasurer Loftis’ trip. He paid for his trip with personal funds.