The small Portuguese island of Madeira has “merged” Bitcoin (BTC) – but what does that mean? The announcement made at the Bitcoin Miami conference in 2022 has fueled confusion and misinformation.
Madeira’s regional president, Miguel Albuquerque, took to the stage in April to announce that he believes in the “future of Bitcoin” and that he would work to “create a great environment for Bitcoin.” However, the details were still unclear.
Cointelegraph spoke to André Loja, an entrepreneur from Madeira, who was at the forefront of the plan to bring Bitcoin to the Atlantic archipelago to find out how Bitcoin is shaping the islands’ development.
The island of Madeira exploded on the Bitcoin world map on April 7 when Samson Mow proudly announced that Madeira “will adopt Bitcoin.
In the announcement, news agencies around the world reported that Madeira had adopted Bitcoin as legal tender. That was not the case, however. Loja explained to Cointelegraph that prior to Samson Mow’s announcement, Loja had chosen to use the phrase “Madeira is embracing Bitcoin.
“We welcome it, we support it. We are not “accepting” Bitcoin because the recording looks like we are making it legal when it is already legal in practice. “
Indeed, in Madeira and across Portugal – 1,000 km northeast of the island – there is no tax on Bitcoin capital gains. This means that any disposal, spending or use of Bitcoin does not have to be reported to the tax authorities of the island’s 250,000 inhabitants.
Loja, the orange president of Madeira, just a few weeks before the conference, shared his view on Bitcoin as not only a way to attract foreign investment, but also to “protect my island from the fiat system.”
Coincidentally, Albuquerque came to visit Loja’s work site – one of the few places that accept Bitcoin in Madeira – and Loja jumped at the chance to share her passion for Bitcoin. Madeira was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, in which significant tourism revenue fell off a cliff. Loja therefore presented the Bitcoin future to the President as a way to diversify and restructure Madeira’s economy, among other options.
Albuquerque was reportedly open to the idea, so Loja quickly enlisted the help of Bitcoiners around the world, including Daniel Prince, a famous Bitcoin podcaster; Jeff Booth, author Tomorrow’s prices, and even Michael Saylor, CEO of Microstrategy.
Within a few weeks, the Bitcoiner star team had contacted the organizers of Bitcoin Miami 2022 to plan the president’s performance on stage. Finally, the opportunity was too great to miss out on getting the head of state autonomy to support Bitcoin.
Upon landing in Miami, Loja and Albuquerque were invited to Saylor’s conspicuous villa in Miami, “with the yachts and all,” Loja jokes. Although Loja was already orange with the president, the conversation with Saylor was on another level:
“Michael Saylor sat down with President Albuquerque and he did well […] It was more like he sat down with his head! “
Saylor told Albuquerque that “you have to focus on Bitcoin. Everything else is rubbish.” A conversation that the president is unlikely to forget, the seminar was a sufficient preparation for him to take the stage in front of 25,000 Bitcoin enthusiasts.
Loja explained that the announcement that Madeira was adopting Bitcoin would “trigger an intention” for Madeira to become an island where Bitcoin thrives alongside the people. For Loja, who has already translated popular Bitcoin books into Portuguese, “It starts with education: the most important thing.”
In fact, Loja cut her teeth at the bear market 2018. Loja is a passionate teacher and works closely with other teachers in the space, such as Knut Svanholm, the author of the book Bitcoin: All divided by 21 million, to teach the principles of healthy money:
“I have a lot of ideas, from kindergartens to schools to adult workplaces – and getting people off the island. The club will have the best people as consultants.”
To this end, Loja is founding the Sound Money Foundation, a Bitcoin educational center in Madeira. The center has the support of Samson Mow and Jeff Booth, among others, and seeks to help locals better understand cryptocurrency from an early age.
The accompanying education and focus on improving “financial literacy,” Loja’s hometown also lures Bitcoin companies with attractive financial incentives. At the World Trade Center, companies pay only 5% business tax, which is a very competitive rate. Portugal was already a budding hub for individual Bitcoiners, but companies could now reap the benefits
Connected: Bitcoin, Bukele and a number of central bankers meet in El Salvador
Further down the street, Loja plans for Madeira’s autonomy to mine Bitcoin with renewable energy – as the island has plenty of wind and sunlight – and even implemented a “multi-purpose wallet for the government to work with Bitcoin financially.
As a result, the government would take full custody of Bitcoin, which it is gaining control of over private keys. Loja emphasized that the electricity system is an independent “public company”, so any Bitcoin that the network mines would go into the government’s multi-sig wallet.
In essence, Madeira’s approach to Bitcoin goes beyond the promised status of legal tender. From Bitcoin public mining to education to state-run multi-sig wallets to having Michael Saylor on the fast lane, the island is slowly heading towards a Bitcoin future.
It is not surprising that Loja’s holistic approach to the island that “embraces” Bitcoin has little time to choose.
Mail Bonus – #Madeira #embraces #Bitcoin #president #met #Michael #Saylor