Bitcoin is now officially legal tender in El Salvador, but the country’s landmark adoption of the world’s largest cryptocurrency got off to a less than auspicious start on Tuesday with protests and technical problems.

San Salvador, El Salvador — Bitcoin is now officially legal tender in El Salvador, but the country’s landmark adoption of the world’s largest cryptocurrency got off to a less than auspicious start on Tuesday.

Before the law officially took effect at 3pm local time (21:00 GMT), the country’s new digital wallet — called Chivo — suffered glitches, forcing the government to take it offline while it…

First impressions at the dawn of a Bitcoin Nation

In eight days, El Salvador will become the world’s first nation that recognizes Bitcoin as legal tender, but you would never guess it from walking around and chatting with locals.

I arrived in San Salvador, the capital, a week ago expecting something different from what I’ve seen. I’m a longtime advocate of Bitcoin and have spent much of my adult life in Latin America. I’ve always thought of Bitcoin as a social movement rather than a technology and have been so attracted to Latin America over the years in large part…

Why I’m moving there to start a non-profit and help Bitcoin succeed

Twenty years from now history books will include a chapter on ‘the first Bitcoin country.’ Exactly what it will say is unknown, the only certainty at this point is that this is an inflection point in history.

I hate hyperbole as much as the next person, but it’s truly hard to understate the significance of El Salvador’s move.

It is an experiment on the grandest scale.

I’m working on the assumption that Bitcoin (and the movement it’s spawned) will radically change our future world. Again, whether that is positive or negative is still uncertain, but the idea that you could…

Lessons from a hack and reasons to continue

The concept is simple: we are at the dawn of a new way to view power and the earliest adopters will benefit the most. This is an opportunity to re-balance the world, so it’d be a shame if the same places and people that hold the power in the current order benefit most from the coming one. Adoption of crypto currency is higher in the global north than the global south and that is the problem I seek to address: How best to grow crypto in the global south?

My interest in crypto has always been focused on its potential…

Usually privilege hides in plain sight, sometimes it’s…

The proof-of-work technology the underpins Bitcoin and Ethereum will decentralize energy and that’s a good thing

There are lots of provocative headlines out there about NFT’s energy consumption, like this one from the New York Times on April 13: NFTs Are Shaking Up the Art World. They May Be Warming the Planet, Too. While it’s true that the technology behind NFTs is energy intensive, what’s missing from the critique is how that same technology is capable of revolutionizing how we create energy. Since the advent of Bitcoin and blockchain, mainstream critics miss the mark because they’re judging the future of this innovation through the lens of the past.

First, some basics. The critique that NFTs are…

Voters head to the polls tomorrow (11 April) for the run-off election between presidential candidates Andres Arauz, a left-wing economist, and Guillermo Lasso, a right-wing banker. The winner will inherit a divided nation and bleak economic outlook.

Quito, Ecuador — Tanks and barbed wire surround the National Electoral Council as Ecuador prepares to choose a new president after a disputed first round of voting and rising tensions between the two candidates ahead of Sunday’s run-off election.

Nearby streets are open, but nearly deserted after the government imposed a “state of exception” that restricts traffic based on licence plate numbers and includes a nightly curfew, both designed to curb the spread of COVID-19.

At the centre of the election: the future of Ecuador’s economy. Recent polls show a close race between Andres Arauz, a left-wing economist who plans…

Near the peak of US deaths, I moved to Ecuador

I was in New York when Covid-19 hit last year — and it hit hard. In early February I moved to Ecuador, and it’s been interesting to see how each place has reacted differently to the pandemic. Both are places I am intimately familiar with, having lived off and on in each for more than a decade.

My first impressions in Quito, the capital, were extremely positive. Everyone wore a mask and they wore it correctly. Not some. Not most. Everyone. Entering any building required a temperature check and a spray of alcohol on your hands. Some places also spray…

* hodler is an intentional misspelling and a Bitcoin meme

An hour after I first heard of Bitcoin, I knew it would change the world. That was eight years ago.

Back in 2013 I first read the word ‘Bitcoin’ in a news article about a bank bail-in in Cyprus. The government was in debt and their solution was raiding personal bank accounts. The article mentioned this also led to a boon in Bitcoin — a new digital currency that existed beyond the reach of the government.

Wait, what?!

It was just an aside, but it struck me. A few years earlier I was deported from my adopted home in Ecuador…

The meteoric (and illogical) rise of GameStop is just the beginning


The status quo is under attack. Its power has always been more illusion than fact, and that façade is becoming more transparent. This is broadly true, but also specifically from the vantage of how we determine value.

Oil futures traded for negative dollar values in 2020. In 2021 the stock price of GameStop, a retail-based video game store which was struggling even before the pandemic, rose 2,000% (20x) in a fortnight.

The old truth has always been that value is dictated. The new paradigm is that it is subjective. We decide.

My primary window into this over the past decade…

John Dennehy

Writing about social movements, international politics and cryptocurrency — often from South America or Asia. Author of Illegal

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