As it turns out, the “60 Minutes” report on Bitcoin Beach that we recently covered had a hidden segment. The title is “The tech behind the Bitcoin Beach Wallet,” and the “60 Minutes” website describes it as “A small town in El Salvador is fostering a Bitcoin economy, in part, because the technology meets local needs.” Of course, Bitcoinist already put a spotlight on the Bitcoin Beach Wallet itself. In that report, we said:
“The Bitcoin Beach wallet has unique characteristics that respond to El Zonte’s specific needs. The people at Galoy describe it as:
“The Bitcoin Beach Wallet is an open source Bitcoin community banking solution. One that was designed to meet the needs of the merchants and community members in El Zonte. It utilizes a multisig shared custody model that offers an alternative to the standard non-custodial and custodial solutions that are most widely available today.”
However, the “60 Minutes” report contains new details and stories that weren’t present in ours. Let’s see what the legendary TV show and its host Sharyn Alfonsi unearthed.
What Can “60 Minutes” Tell Us About The Bitcoin Beach Wallet?
This time around, the interviewees are Bitcoin Beach’s founder Mike Peterson and tech entrepreneur Chris Hunter, one of Galoy’s co-founders. The company that built the Bitcoin Beach Wallet was crucial for the project’s success, and through the “60 Minutes” report we learn why. First of all, they worked pro bono. Secondly, according to Hunter, Galoy was the one that proposed using the Lightning Network.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though. First, Peterson explains that after receiving the donation that started it all, their goal was to create a bitcoin circular economy. “The store is accepting it, but then they’re turning around and paying their employee in bitcoin. And then their employee can pay their water bill in bitcoin, and do it electronically,” Peterson described to “60 Minutes.”
Then, Hunter explains that El Zonte was primarily a cash economy. And when bitcoin came into the picture, everybody involved was using on-chain transactions. This wasn’t optimal, as validation for those takes at least 10 minutes. Galoy understood that they had to provide a phenomenal user experience for the population to adopt bitcoin.
Their goal was to create, “a simple, easy-to-use wallet that allowed them to do two things; Number one, save their money and then spend their money,” Hunter explained. They wanted to provide a similar experience to Venmo or ApplePay, and bitcoin’s Lightning Network promised the much-needed speed. However, the second layer protocol was largely unused at the time.
BTC price chart for 04/20/2022 on BinanceUS | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com
What Does The Bitcoin Beach Wallet Provide?
According to Hunter, the Bitcoin Beach Wallet is more advanced than anything people are using in the US. “This is a postcard from the future to show the world that bitcoin is money and everyday people can use it as such,” Hunter claimed. Besides sending and receiving sats, the app “also includes a map that shows users which vendors accept bitcoin.”
This feature was a game-changer for the Bitcoin Italia Podcast’s hosts, who were basically lost before downloading the wallet. We quote them saying:
“They immediately invite us, for example, to download the wallet developed by Bitcoin Beach because inside you can find a map – continuously updated – that lists all the activities that accept BTC. That’s a real breath of relief! It’s going to be the most useful.”
Not only that, they find an even more useful feature that “60 Minutes” didn’t even mention. Bitcoinist describes it as:
“The Bitcoin Beach Wallet provides the much-needed Bitcoin education that they noticed El Salvador lacks. And it pays users a small amount of sats for completing each of the information modules.”
Plus, the wallet and its “multisig shared custody model” are open-source. The code is already making the rounds and, for example, Bitcoin Jungle in Costa Rica used it to create their own wallet. The Bitcoin Jungle one has different characteristics, it’s adapted to that community’s “local needs.”
In any case, “60 Minutes” did an excellent job in this short segment. Keep the bitcoin coverage coming.
Featured Image: Sharyn Alfonsi screenshot from the report | Charts by TradingView