Latinx communities continue to overcome the barriers to Bitcoin adoption

Digital assets have become increasingly common in our daily lives lately – in the news, in popular culture, and in our personal interactions. In the first quarter of 2021, the number of daily Bitcoin (BTC) transactions worldwide reached 367,536. Bitcoin alone now accounts for around $ 20 billion in daily online transactions. In addition, those familiar with digital assets and cryptocurrencies implicitly trust them – Binance’s Global Crypto User Index for 2021 shows 97% confidence in cryptocurrencies.

On a pro rata basis, members of Latinx communities in the United States have some of the highest crypto adoption rates, with roughly 31% of Hispanics owning Bitcoin and the same data suggesting that 25% of Bitcoin owners are Latinx. There are many reasons for this impressive adoption rate, not the least of which is the fact that this group has less access to traditional wealth. In 2016, Latinx families owned less than one-sixth of the wealth of white families and were far more likely to support family members who did not live with them. In 2020, Mexicans living in the United States sent over $ 40 billion to family members in Mexico, and many of those transfers were through cryptocurrency.

While Latinx communities seem to be at the forefront of adopting digital assets and using them to improve their daily lives, it is important that players in the cryptocurrency and digital asset industries make an effort to include marginalized groups in their plans for the future and themselves integrate into and embrace these communities to continue this upward trend in adoption and ensure that everyone is aware of the wide range of benefits digital assets can offer.

Latin American adoption

It is only a matter of time before digital assets reach full adoption in Latin America. Take, for example, El Salvador’s decision to become the first country in the world to make Bitcoin legal tender. El Salvador citizens can now get $ 30 worth of Bitcoin by downloading and registering the government’s cryptocurrency app, Chivo. Taxes can be paid in Bitcoin and prices are displayed in either BTC or US dollars. A major driver of the law is helping people elsewhere in the world who are sending money back to El Salvador, as these payments generally come with high transaction and commission fees when made in fiat currency.

Related: What is really behind El Salvador’s “Bitcoin Law”? Experts answer

Argentina is following El Salvador’s lead, with members of the Argentine National Congress recently tabled a bill that would allow Argentines to accept their salaries in Bitcoin. Cuba, Paraguay and Uruguay have all signaled that they will officially recognize and regulate cryptocurrency in their countries in the near future. Heads of State and Government in Argentina, Brazil, Panama and beyond have supported El Salvador’s action on social media.

Helping migrants send remittances to their family and friends in their countries of origin is just one example of how digital assets can empower people. Bill payment services through blockchain technology could also be life-changing for people in marginalized communities. Blockchain payments are safer, faster and often cheaper than traditional methods – and do not require access to traditional banking and payment channels. This is particularly important as many marginalized people do not have access to a bank account. While they make up only 32% of the US population, black and Latinx households make up 64% of households with no and 47% of households with underfunding.

Overcoming barriers to entry

Those from marginalized communities have shown their tenacity and determination in innovating and using these new technologies to their advantage, overcoming the constraints traditional finances have placed on them. These groups are among the most familiar with crypto in the United States and are quick to adopt and use the technology.

It is now the role of the crypto industry, governments and organizations to reach and target marginalized communities, integrate into their communities and show them how they can continue to benefit and change their daily lives for the better. When companies and regulators can learn about the cultures and traditions of these communities, they can understand their needs and meet those needs for mutual benefit.

Two main barriers to digital asset adoption remain: a lack of understanding and security concerns. To that end, education is key to further digital asset adoption – people need to understand the value of digital assets and how digital assets can serve them and their communities. Since digital assets are still a relatively new concept, fear and lack of understanding are natural. It is difficult to understand how these new technologies can replace old-established structures like traditional banks and how this new technology can serve them more effectively, securely and safely.

Related: The mass adoption of blockchain technology is possible, and education is key

Digital assets use blockchain technology, which is widely recognized as one of the safest options for transactions and payments. However, this may not be clear at first to those unfamiliar with the concept and concerned about the safety of their money and payments. With the right understanding and educational initiatives, we can help cryptocurrency users select secure, regulated, and licensed digital asset providers so they can transact with confidence.

The widespread adoption of crypto is still in its infancy and there are still many obstacles. Strong government ties to traditional banking in many countries will fuel skepticism towards digital assets. Taking a top-down approach, it is imperative that governments and industry leaders empower this innovative, extremely useful technology. By creating a secure, regulated environment for crypto and enabling healthy discourse and education on the subject, we can further empower and transform the lives of citizens.

This article does not provide investment advice or recommendations. Every step of investing and trading involves risk, and readers should do their own research when making a decision.

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Rodrigo Bezanilla is the Latin American business strategist at Coinsource. With over 25 years of experience as an investment and financial advisor, Rodrigo has an extensive background in cross-border relations between Mexico and the United States. As managing partner of Tejas Opportunity Group, a cross-border private equity firm focusing on social impact investments in Texas, Rodrigo brings his expertise to the table to create opportunities for the Latin American community through strategic business alliances and private equity activities.

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