A Presidential Visit To Madeira: Is This Island The Next Bitcoin Paradise?
This is an opinion editorial by Joe Nakamoto, a pseudonymous Bitcoin traveler and press reporter who assisted create a current documentary on Madeiras Bitcoin adoption.What is a Madeira? Why do Bitcoiners keep discussing it? Does it come with fries? And why did Pleb Music (aka, Max DeMarco) shoot a Bitcoin documentary on this small island?Answering those concerns, a band of high-profile Bitcoiners set out to “orange pill” the Portuguese island of Madeira this summer. Pleb Music brought its Bitcoin story to life in a documentary resplendent with swooping drone shots, storytelling sleight of hand and the agile camerawork of his talented videographer buddy, @Cinemuck_. With the Northern hemisphere winter biting hard, its worth watching. Youll consume in a warm mug of life on Madeira and find it to be an up-and-coming Bitcoin base. Before we get to that, lets reach consensus on Madeira; lets explore why this Portuguese isle should now feature on any traveling Bitcoiners bucket list.The Pearl Of The AtlanticThe sunkissed island of Madeira rises up from the Atlantic Ocean some 600 miles off the coast of Portugal. A popular tourist location thanks to Instagram-ready landscapes, a warm, temperate environment and an abundant cultural heritage, its a peaceful patch of land. Theres a routine direct flight to New York while affordable airline companies blend passengers to a handful of European capital cities.Much like other little island developing states, or SIDS, Madeiras advancement is restricted by its area. A blossoming tourism industry props up the local economy, but natural deposits are limited. Madeiran bananas and passionfruit– frequently found in my local supermarket on Portugals mainland– are not successful but plentiful. Madeira also exports just adequate tea to keep the United Kingdom satiated for about two seconds, along with Madeiran wine.SourceTourism aside, theres a smattering of remittance sent in from the many Madeirans spread throughout the world (oh look, Bitcoin fixes this!), as well as some sell its ports. In the cold weather, tourist diversification techniques such as ecotourism and luring digital nomads to work from the island serve two functions: one, keeping Madeiras economy ticking over in the low season, and two, driving down the typical age of holidaymakers on the island. Madeira is house to espetada (loads of Madeiran meat piled up on a skewer like a chic kebab), quality steak and delightful fish. It certainly attract the average Bitcoiners diet; while the vegetarians and vegans can be felt confident that a lot of food is cultivated locally.Quality red meat and fish are abundant on the island. Restaurant: Lá ao fundo. Source: author.Madeira boasts an informed population, ridiculously fast internet and civil engineering infrastructure that made Greg Foss jaw drop more regularly than he deploys the f-bomb on Bitcoin podcasts. Indeed, although the Madeiran economy practically depends on tourist, Madeira gets a considerable portion of EU subsidies to build bridges, roadways and even cable television cars.One of Madeiras numerous highrise, highway tunnels. Source.For the 2021 to 2027 duration, the European Commission will invest a massive 1.9 billion euros in the “outermost areas” of the EU, that includes the Açores and Madeira. The Açores are Madeiras larger, chillier siblings, numerous miles northwest of the island. The EU money is allocated for improving the connectivity of the islands, transportation and, undoubtedly, tunnels.Without the significant EU aids, Madeira would likely suffer and economic activity may dwindle. And without tourist– as shown throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, when Madeiras GDP contracted by as much as 10%– the island may grind to a halt.However, the ace up this small islands sleeve is a specific André Loja. Loja, pronounced “Loshja” (no, not “lo-haa,” Daniel Prince), is a happy Madeiran business owner with business interests that straddle tourist, realty and, crucially, Bitcoin.Loja (far left) relaxes after lunch at Restaurante Fajá Dos Padres. Source: author.Prior to advancements on the island, Loja was a rather lonesome Bitcoiner. And much like numerous others Bitcoiners who I have the enjoyment of calling pals, hes unhinged. Because instead of just try to present his buddies to Bitcoin, Loja believed, “Fodasse, caralho!”– Portuguese for “fuck it!”– “Im going to orange tablet the president of this island.”A Madeiran Monetary TransitionLojas work, combined with that of Prince Philip of Serbia, Prince and a quick cameo from Michael Saylor, caused a statement by the president of Madeira, Miguel Albuquerque, at the Bitcoin 2022 conference. During Samson Mows keynote, Albuquerque exclaimed, “I believe in the future and I believe in Bitcoin.”SourceHowever, contrary to some rather dodgy crypto media reporting, this outburst does not indicate that Madeira embraced bitcoin as legal tender. And nor can it. Madeira uses the euro and is highly unlikely to replace or perhaps complement the European shitcoin with magic internet cash any time quickly. With this in mind, our visit to the island in June 2022 was an aid and an investigation to the announcement; an ode to “dont trust, validate.” The mission would discover what it indicates for Madeira to “accept” Bitcoin, and understand how we, as Bitcoiners, can pitch in. Sidebar: Like all excellent Bitcoiners, once upon a time, Madeira shitcoined hard. The Madeira Blockchain Association hosts a yearly conference, while the coworking area that Loja runs is a favorite for cRypT0pp digital nomad types. You understand the sort: talking millennials passionate about something that they cant rather specify however will probably, absolutely empower everybody online, all the time, cuz WAGMI, Web3, “Yes it does require a blockchain, heres why.” I deeply feel sorry for Loja, who I often picture in his workplace next to the coworking space, scrolling on Bitcoin Twitter while overhearing discussions and concepts from his cowork tenants. Concepts such as how to decentralize the luggage storage industry or construct the next finest dapp on Ethereum that, “Trust me, bro its more secure than Bitcoin.The entrance to Lojas coworking space, Cowork Funchal. Do you think it accepts bitcoin? Source: author.Furthermore, similar to Max Keiser and Stacy Herberts method to El Salvador, Loja makes every effort to steer the crypto frauds and Ponzi schemes clear of his coasts. Its a thankless, unrelenting job. And its certainly why not a single Bitcoiner who took part in the Madeira trip might be considered a “shitcoin sympathizer.” For a guy who lives by the catchphrase, “I dont know shit about fuck,” the guy understands his shit when it comes to arranging a serious batch of Bitcoin supporters. Orange Pill DispensersAnd so, throughout 10 days in June 2022, the all-star team set about showing, sharing and sending Bitcoin with residents in Madeira. From browse stores to civil servants, cab driver to tax authorities and poncha bars to presidents, they got the word out about Satoshi Nakamotos innovation. (FYI, “poncha” is the Madeiran drink of choice. Its potent. Just ask Jeff Booth). The surf store owner Foss and I paid bitcoin to (using the Lightning Network, naturally) for surfboard leasings. Source: author.Thanks to Loja, the group took a Lightning-guided tour of the island and its infrastructure. Not only had Loja spent hours establishing conferences with policymakers and business leaders in Madeira, but he d likewise arranged the obligatory Bitcoin boat trip (Yes, my personal keys are now on the Atlantic seabed); a cable car to a remote restaurant and trips through more tunnels than there are shitcoins listed on CoinMarketCap. The group got a genuine taste of Madeira.Although DeMarcos documentary highlights that the peak of the trip was meeting with the president, Madeira is simply a must-visit destination. It has all of the active ingredients to become a Bitcoin citadel– or a free personal city– just ask Peter Young. With 200,000-ish people, a manageable, fertile land area, warm weather, low-cost expense of living and incredible web speeds, whats stopping you from moving there? Or a minimum of, amusing the daydream– I typically do.Câmara de Lobos, previously an impoverished area of Madeira– now its Instagrammable. Source: author.In addition, the tax rewards are presently among the very best for Europeans wanting to develop a Bitcoin service or HODL bitcoin long term. Business tax is just 5% if a company signs up at the International Business Centre. For retail, since 2023, if you HODL your bitcoin for 365 days before costs, there is zero tax. You can purchase a home with bitcoin, spend sats at a few merchants and hang out at Bitcoin meetup. The Regional Forum of Economic Education, or F.R.E.E Madeira, is on hand to assist you on your journey. Cofounded by Bitcoiners and Madeiran professionals, the group wants to make Madeira among the brand-new houses for the “brand-new base layer of the brand-new web,” as Booth explained. And this is simply the start.SourceHowever. Madeira is not El Salvador. You can not survive on a Bitcoin standard in Madeira. Peer-to-peer interactions, Bitrefill, the Bitcoin Company, FREE Madeiras support and numerous other Bitcoin workarounds will assist you in using bitcoin on the island, but understand that cash rules supreme on Madeira and we are still really early. In this regard, Madeira requires your help.Ask not what Madeira can do for you, but what you can do … If youre reading this, youre probably a Bitcoin enthusiast or youre at least Bicurious (no, not the horny kind). Im going to assume, for that reason, that you understand 100 times more about Bitcoin than the average Madeiran does. In Madeira, a lot of people have not yet heard of Bitcoin. In my experience, over 95% of the population have actually not used Lightning and awareness is in its genesis.Following the Presidential meal, Prince onboarded Madeiran ministers utilizing Muun wallet. Source: author.Moreover, President Albuquerque is not rather on the very same level as laser-eyed President Bukele of El Salvador. The Central American country performed a top-down Bitcoin adoption method when declaring bitcoin as legal tender in 2021. To continue the El Salvador comparison, while Salvadorans see volcanoes as a source of energy for Bitcoin mining, in Madeira, during our visit, the civil servants at the energy ministry raised the legitimate concern, “How did you understand the Bitcoin is here?” The energy expert had not yet grasped that Bitcoin is digital, and not physical. We are still extremely early.The Madeira men in the presidents office. Source: author.Our discussions with company ministers, individuals and business owners were amongst the first Bitcoin touchpoints. If Madeira was to mine Bitcoin, who would custody the keys? Should it be cost euros or should it be HODL d? Is it even legal to do so, and what would the EU think? To contribute to this, while the president is completely on board with Bitcoin, how far do his powers extend? Its worth thinking about the impact of the EU one day banning Bitcoin mining or the MiCA (markets in crypto possessions) regulation on Madeiras choice to embrace Bitcoin– and to what degree the EU would come down on Madeira, or let it reside in a gray area as an EU external zone. So, What Can You Do? Book your ticket. Swim in the natural sea swimming pools, trip cable television vehicles and hike “levadas” (hillside canal walks). Break bread with Bitcoiners and laugh off the clown word we inhabit over a glass of poncha in Maderias capital, Funchal. Think about the cumulative impact of all of these sees and Bitcoin connections on Madeira over the next 5 to 10 years. Its a bit like Bitcoin Park in Nashville, or Praia Bitcoin in Brazil or Bitcoin Jungle in Costa Rica. If enough Bitcoiners come down, show interest, set up shop or perhaps transfer to Madeira, the island will reach what Swan Bitcoin has actually coined the “intransigent minority.” Its of course a low-time preference objective, and some methods away. Its a future I can get on board with.In the meantime, I do not understand about you, but shooting the shit with Bitcoiners IRL is far more satisfying than shitposting on Twitter (or Nostr, sorry). And the very best part about this Portuguese paradise? In Madeira, you can do both. This is a guest post by Joe Nakamoto. Viewpoints expressed are totally their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.
Source: author.In addition, the tax rewards are presently amongst the finest for Europeans looking to develop a Bitcoin service or HODL bitcoin long term. You can buy a home with bitcoin, invest sats at a few merchants and hang out at Bitcoin meetup. Peer-to-peer interactions, Bitrefill, the Bitcoin Company, FREE Madeiras help and many other Bitcoin workarounds will assist you in utilizing bitcoin on the island, however be aware that money reigns supreme on Madeira and we are still very early. Its worth thinking about the impact of the EU one day banning Bitcoin mining or the MiCA (markets in crypto assets) regulation on Madeiras decision to accept Bitcoin– and to what extent the EU would come down on Madeira, or let it live in a gray location as an EU outer zone. Its a bit like Bitcoin Park in Nashville, or Praia Bitcoin in Brazil or Bitcoin Jungle in Costa Rica.