Teaching Bitcoin (BTC) in schools: that’s the gamble taken by the government of El Salvador, after two years of promoting the cryptocurrency. What will be taught in the country and what does this say about Nayib Bukele’s long-term plans?
In El Salvador, Bitcoin becomes part of the school curriculum
The programme was launched on the second anniversary of El Salvador’s adoption of the legal tender. It aims to educate school teachers about Bitcoin, so that they can teach their students the basics of the cryptocurrency. The initiative is based on a partnership with two projects: Bitcoin Beach, and “Mi Primer Bitcoin” (my first Bitcoin), a cryptocurrency education programme:
Classes have begun!
Next week they will spread across the country to their local schools to do the same with their own students
– Mi Primer Bitcoin (@MyfirstBitcoin_) September 7, 2023
The video shared by Mi Primer Bitcoin shows school teachers being taught how to send and receive Bitcoin. The government has introduced a “Bitcoin diploma” since 2021, awarded at the end of the learning process offered by the organisation.
MOOC and global education
The content of this course is accessible to everyone online, in the form of a MOOC (massive open online course). It lasts 10 weeks and 187 pages of content are available to anyone who wishes to enrol. According to John Dennehy, the founder of Mi Primer Bitcoin, who was interviewed by our colleagues at Decrypt, several other regions have also expressed interest.
Two other Latin American countries have confirmed their interest in collaborating with the education programme. In addition, 250 Mexican students will benefit from the training, thanks to a collaboration with El Salvador.
The adoption of Bitcoin by El Salvador has had a few bumps in the road, but it shows that to change a financial system, you have to educate those who will be using the new methods. Indeed, we have seen the government of El Salvador pivot towards a highly educational approach, when it came up against the lack of knowledge among its citizens.
Attracting crypto businesses to El Salvador
The other part of the government’s strategy is attracting businesses. This year, El Salvador’s president Nayib Bukele had presented his bill to exempt tech companies from taxes. And companies in the cryptocurrency sector had already signalled their interest in the region. In April, Bitfinex, a company linked to Tether (USDT), was the first to obtain its licence to offer tokenisation of assets.
Since then, Tether itself has invested $1 billion in a mining project in El Salvador. And more recently, in August, we learned that Binance had become the first regulated cryptocurrency exchange in El Salvador.
Attracting businesses on the one hand, educating citizens on the other. Will Nayib Bukele’s long-term strategy pay off? That remains to be seen, but this is the first time that such a full-scale test has been carried out for Bitcoin.