Business

a BTC training in Roatán

Few crypto enthusiasts around the world could point to the remote island of Roatan ahead of the Bitcoin (BTC) 2022 conference in Miami.

Dušan Matuska was one of them, a Bitcoin teacher whose plans to open a Bitcoin education center in a former brewery were intertwined with the Satoshi Nakamoto-inspired vision of a special economic zone called Próspera in Honduras. Próspera on Roatán will accept Bitcoin as de facto legal tender from April 2022.

But how did a Slovakian bitcoin miner stumble across one of the few sites worldwide that actually accepts bitcoin as legal tender? And what does a brewery have to do with it?

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In late 2021, Matuska’s bitcoin mining friends mentioned the Honduran island of Roatan and stated their intention to buy some land on the picture-perfect island. Matuska was intrigued by the success of neighboring country El Salvador and Bitcoin Beach’s bitcoin adoption story, as well as his personal mission to educate 100 million people about bitcoin by 2030.

Matuska flew over from Paraguay, where he was investigating renewable bitcoin mining operations, and quickly learned that Roatan is a “nice little island in Honduras” with “beautiful views.” It’s like a “hidden pearl of the Caribbean”.

However, it is small, so that “after two weeks of vacation there slowly boredom arises”.

“Since our mission is always to educate people about bitcoin, we started developing ideas for a bitcoin education center in Honduras.”

In line with other bitcoin grassroots projects around the world like El Salvador and Portland, Oregon, while drawing on his own experience of educating people about bitcoin at crypto cafes in Eastern Europe, Matuska began looking for centers for bitcoin -Enlightenment.

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The alternative educational café Paralení Polis in Prague, Czech Republic. The space became a bitcoin education center. Source: Google

Oddly enough, Matuska is Slovak – Czechs and Slovaks are close and share a similar culture and history – and Czechs are the second largest expat population on the island after Americans. In addition, an old Czech brewery had fallen into disrepair.

See Also: Seven Times Bitcoin Miners Made the World a Better Place

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The former Czech brewery seemed like the ideal opportunity to rejuvenate a tired space and transform it into a place where visitors could learn about the world’s largest cryptocurrency. “It looked like a bitcoin citadel,” Matuska told Cointelegraph.

The story from beer to bitcoin had begun.

However, the size and scale of the restoration of a large and dilapidated brewery into an educational center was daunting. When Matuska and the team “checked it out, the building was rotten and damaged.” Restoring the relic would “cost maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars to bring it back to normal.”

Another lucky coincidence was that the Próspera Business Event was held on the island, just around the corner. Próspera is a special economic zone in central Roátan that houses its own civil law and regulatory structure. The Laws of Próspera are inspired by the highly successful Shenzen Economic Zone in China as well as Dubai.

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The Prospera Special Economic Zone. Source: Prospera.hn

Matuska left the brewery to attend the conference, buoyed by talks he’d had about Honduras’ potential adoption of bitcoin as legal tender. He explained this in early 2022 in Roatan:

“You could pay some taxes in bitcoin; Businesses have been very open about accepting bitcoin or any other currency because there is a great deal of freedom across the region.”

A unique opportunity arose during the conference: Matuska was asked to speak about his work with Bitcoin and education.

“I thought, okay, should I introduce the potential Honduras Bitcoin Education Center? Like, is it okay or not? In the end I decided I should do it.”

Shortly after the presentation about the Brewery-to-Bitcoin project, Erick Brimen, founder and CEO of the Próspera Special Economic Zone, reached out to Matuska. “Come with me,” he said.

“Erick Brimen took me to a building at the highest viewpoint on Roatan in Pristine Bay. It’s an amazing building. There is a school at the moment, but it has outgrown the building. In June it will be free. And. We will start building the center there.”

Forget the seedy brewery, an even better bitcoin education center had fallen into Matuska’s lap. In addition, Matuska received the nod from the CEO of the organization that was the driving force behind Bitcoin becoming legal tender in Próspera.

Brimen told Cointelegraph that the Bitcoin Education Center in Próspera aligns with their key strategic goals, which is to “identify 100 co-creators who will ‘handle’ the activation of a number of strategic projects.”

“Dusan’s project is one of them, he is creating something important for the judiciary by installing a bitcoin education center. Decentralized finance is key and bitcoin is a much better form of currency than traditional fiat. We want to make that possible.”

When Matuska saw the new building and the scope of the project, his brain spun. He had to speak to his girlfriend, colleagues, immigration and the airlines as they only had “a couple of weeks or months to set everything up and put everything together”.

Matuska told Cointelegraph that the Próspera project is interested in doing “everything on Bitcoin.” An agreement was reached just a few weeks before Bitcoin 2022.

During Samson Mow’s keynote speech at Bitcoin 2022, Bitcoin was announced as de facto legal tender in Próspera, Honduras and Madeira, Portugal, while a Mexican senator shared ambitious Bitcoin plans for her country.

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The announcement during Bitcoin 2022 in Miami. Source: Youtube

Matuska jokes that Bremen almost mentioned the Bitcoin Education Center during the keynote, but the time constraints of just “90 seconds on stage” didn’t quite allow for it.

Related: Stablecoins are the perfect Trojan horse for Bitcoin, says Tether CTO

Back in Honduras, the Bitcoin Education Center is gaining traction as part of Próspera and Brimen’s vision for Bitcoin. Ultimately, Bitcoin should be properly understood and used.

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The view from the top of the Bitcoin Education Center in Próspera. Source: Matuska

Brimen told Cointelegraph that “just making it legal isn’t enough,” as people “should have the tools and knowledge to make the most of it.” He continued:

“Because it is considered legal tender, we want to make it possible for people not only to use it, but also to use it responsibly.”

Related: Building Businesses in the “Spirit of Bitcoin”: The Bitcoin Hostel

As a result, Matuska is keen for bitcoiners around the world to visit, reach out to Honduras and be a part of the change.

“In fact, Próspera asked us to be the leaders in terms of onboarding companies in Honduras, to help them and set everything up. For us, it’s a big step toward our vision of accelerating bitcoinization. And because of that, I just couldn’t say no.”

“Teachers from the Czech Republic and Slovakia fly in to teach,” but the team is still few and far between. As Brimen concludes, “to use bitcoin to its fullest potential,” they’re going to need all the help they can get.

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Bitcoin Education Center Próspera. Source: Matuska

As for the former brewery that has fallen into disrepair, Matuska told Cointelegraph that a Bitcoin-related project will “maybe” take place there in the future. It would be a shame to let such a beautiful building fall into disrepair.