A note about our new video series from our Video Lead, Elina Marchenko.
We are Satoshi
As a video producer during the past 15 years, I’ve always been passionate about helping people tell their stories. From the most elated triumphant short to the most heartbreaking documentary, I’ve been behind the camera for it all. I’ve seen first hand how personal stories bring us together, and help us feel connected, even in a sometimes very disconnected-feeling world. That’s why we’re making it a priority to look beyond the assets that go up and down — and maybe to the moon — to the people behind them. We’re thrilled to introduce our new series, “I am Satoshi”, a collection of global stories about how bitcoin and crypto are changing the world through each individual who is part of this great big future of finance that we’re building, together.
Wondering where the name came from? Satoshi Nakamoto is the pseudonym of the author of the white paper and core technology that became the bitcoin we know today. While no one knows who she is, we’d like to think she’s out there seeing an incredible vision come to life. And that each of us can be Satoshi when we further that vision. Just like each person that we’ll feature in the “I am Satoshi” series, and maybe one day that will be you.
When we set out to help people tell stories of how crypto is impacting people’s lives, we immediately thought of El Salvador: the first country to make bitcoin legal tender just last month. We hope you enjoy our first video, featuring Enrique Berrios. Hear his story:
Behind the scenes: El Salvador
When we began planning our first videos for this series, I was more than a little excited to see bitcoin being used in San Salvador, the capital, and the little beach enclave of El Zonte, a surfing town nicknamed Bitcoin Beach, just a week after bitcoin officially became legal tender.
After seven hours of travel from Chicago with a layover in Houston, I was groggy as I walked up to the immigration area. I handed over my passport, anticipating a stamp. The immigration official asked for an unexpected tourist tax of $24. She followed up with “dollars or bitcoin?” I stopped and stared back in disbelief. While I knew I would see bitcoin being used in transactions, I’d never had bitcoin feel like such a casual part of my life. That moment as the woman stared at me waiting for an answer felt permanent in my mind, like when someone told me The Chicago Cubs won the world series. Something huge and seemingly far-reaching became a reality with a few words out of a normal person’s mouth.
I’ve thought about what bitcoin might become after I adopted dollar-cost averaging and started buying a little at a time with the intention of holding it forever, after a friend introduced it to me years ago. I thought using it for a tourist tax was perhaps something my children would witness. I didn’t think I would be experiencing it for myself.
The very next day I met Enrique Berrios, of Bitcoin Smiles, a dentist who has been using Bitcoin to give the local population of El Zonte and the surrounding suburbs the gift of oral health since 2019. Bitcoin became a popular payment method, partially because many of the Salvadorans who he saw for dental procedures were unbanked. We saw his patients, a lot of whom now receive salaries in Bitcoin. They also use the Lightning network and wallets to pay for everything from pupusas to haircuts. The fees saved on remittances could be upwards of $400 million and residents don’t have to wait upwards of an hour in line to pay simple bills. Most of the population were unbanked and for the first time in their lives they have access to an asset that’s appreciating. As Enrique explained, people aren’t just looking toward an American dream as so many Salvadorans talk about as they immigrate to the States, but for the first time, they’re working toward a Salvadoran dream. A dream that bitcoin may play a major role in helping them realize.
We want to say thank you to Enrique for sharing his story with us, and many people who shared theirs, who you’ll hear from soon. This is just a snapshot of what’s happening in El Salvador, but we hope these first videos of our series can bring you a little closer to the transition happening there — and we’re excited to bring you to more places around the world to meet even more incredible individuals through “I am Satoshi”.