The Honduran resort town of Santa Lucia now has a local Bitcoin hub. According to local news outlet Diario La Prensa, the private initiative known as Bitcoin Valley intends to develop a circular Bitcoin economy and boost the number of tourists visiting the area.
Owner of tourist related businesses in the city Cesar Andino explained that by accepting Bitcoin, merchants will be able to expand their market and attract more customers. “We have to globalize. We can’t close ourselves off from technology and we can’t be left behind when other countries are already doing it,” he says.
According to Reuters, the project was launched on July 28th and jointly developed by the Technological University of Honduras, the municipality of Santa Lucia, the Blockchain Honduras organization, and the Guatemalan cryptocurrency exchange Coincaex.
It was reported that the project will be launched by about 60 firms whose owners have received training for using Bitcoin, according to Carlos Leonardo Paguada Velasquez, founder of Blockchain Honduras and a representative of the Central American Association of Cryptocurrency Users.
Velasquez claims that Coincaex will provide retailers the necessary tools needed for accepting Bitcoin as payment.
Despite the marketing behind the initiative, Coincaex's point of sale (POS) device tries to reduce the volatility of BTC by giving the merchant local fiat money instead, therefore the initiative's only goal is to encourage tourists spending their Bitcoin rather than having merchants save their BTC earnings.
Therefore, if a customer spends BTC to purchase food from a merchant, “Coincaex will receive the Bitcoin and will transfer the payment in lempiras [Honduras currency] to the restaurant,” Velasquez explained and the business owners will not receive the Bitcoin.
The program intends to promote local education on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in addition to merchant acceptance. Classes on Bitcoin and related technology are available to local students and business owners, which may last for more than a month depending on the course.