As part of the Bitcoin Valley initiative, a tiny tourist town in Honduras has started taking Bitcoin (BTC) payments in an effort to boost tourism earnings for 60 neighbourhood businesses. Since the program’s launch on Thursday, customers of local businesses can pay in US dollars, Honduran Lempira, or Bitcoin.
The Bitcoin Valley programme was created by the municipal administration of Santa Lucia in collaboration with the Honduran Technological University, Blockchain Honduras, and the cryptocurrency exchange Coincaex.
While Blockchain Honduras offers instruction on the use of crypto wallets, Coincaex provides the tools and services required to carry out cryptocurrency payments.
After suffering a severe blow from the COVID-19 outbreak, local business owners are hoping that the Bitcoin Valley could revive tourism spending in the tropical coastline nation. As per data from Macrotrends, a worldwide economic tracker, Honduras saw yearly tourism expenditures of roughly $556 million in 2019 before they fell more than 66 per cent to $189 million in 2020.
A Honduran news publishing house had some Santa Lucia residents interviewed, like mall owner Cesar Andino. He anticipates the project to expand opportunities for local businesses and “draw more individuals who wish to use this currency.”
He believed embracing Bitcoin would help them reach new markets and draw in more customers. They understand that they must go global. He believed that by taking Bitcoin, they would be able to enter a new market and attract more clients. They are well aware of the need for globalisation. Additionally, he stated that they could not isolate themselves from technology and could not fall behind while other nations were already adopting it.
The news outlet made it clear that even though clients can pay in BTC for goods and services, they will be sending the coins to the Coincaex exchange. The exchange then immediately sends the merchant the value of the BTC in Lempira to assist in preventing loss due to price fluctuation. Hence, under this arrangement, businesses do not receive payment in the form of Bitcoin directly.
With the launch of such initiatives, Honduras joins a limited group of regional nations that allow citizens to use cryptocurrencies to officially pay for goods and services. In 2021, El Salvador made headlines by making Bitcoin legal tender and launching a national campaign to inform people about its benefits.