Day 32: Guatemala
Thursday 8 December 2022

Wake up 5 a.m. Direction: Guatemala.

Goodbye El Salvador. Que te vaya bien! (How nice is this way of saying goodbye!?).

Bus departure 6:30 a.m., ticket cost: $27, duration: 6 hours. The perfect means of transportation for those who want to travel comfortable without sacrificing adventure. Highly recommended! 

Priorities upon our arrival are twofold: buying quetzales (Guatemala’s currency) in bitcoin and finding SIM cards, the second ones we buy in less than a month and definitely not the last. As soon as we are done with the global payment network, someone will have to think of a border-less phone operator.

We know that at the border between the two states we will have to stop for document control and that there, on the street, we will find dozens of people willing to sell us quetzales. We, however, want to buy them in bitcoin, and we have to find someone willing to accept them. Remember. We have no cash and withdrawing in El Salvador is quite expensive. We represent the average tourist, the one who is very often used to digital money and who may not necessarily have a wallet full of bills at all times, especially if traveling to another country. Who knows how many people have given up the convenience of buying quetzales at the border for this reason. Who knows how many customers these gentlemen have lost because of the rigidities of the traditional financial system.

Spoiler: mission failed. No one wanted our bitcoins. No one had Chivo or any other bitcoin wallet. No one, moreover, had any intention of downloading one despite the fact that we explained to them that it was immediate and free. ‘I don’t like bitcoin,’ ‘I don’t like Bukele,’ ‘I don’t like the government.’ And everyone down to laugh. ‘All right, thank you. We’ll buy them somewhere else. Goodbye.’ There wasn’t much time, and we got pretty good at avoiding difficult conversations with those who are definitely too convinced of their own idea: there’s none so deaf as those who don’t want to hear. Our hope is that some of them, once they get home, will reflect on it and realize that, the first one to accept Bitcoin in the midst of that crowd of people with the exact same product for sale, will be the one who will have one more opportunity than the others. He will be the one who loses one less customer and potentially could change more money than anyone else. There are no limits in bitcoin.

We get back on track and realize that to buy quetzales in bitcoin, we will need a Wi-Fi network or hotspot from now on. 

Isn’t that ironic? A few minutes earlier, we tried to explain to a dozen people how bitcoin was a limitless, borderless technological tool, only to be reminded that without mobile data or an eventual internet connection, that same tool would be unusable to us.

It is still very early.