A local bitcoin hub has been launched in the tourist town of Santa Lucia, Honduras.
Coined Bitcoin Valley, the private initiative aims to create a circular Bitcoin economy and increase the flow of tourists in the region by marketing the acceptance of BTC in local shops, reported local news publication Diario La Prensa.
"Accepting bitcoin will allow us to open another market, win more customers," said Cesar Andino, owner of tourist businesses in Santa Lucia, per a translated version of the report. "We have to globalize. We can't close ourselves off from technology and we can't be left behind when other countries are already doing it."
The project officially launched on Thursday and was spun up as a joint development by the Blockchain Honduras organization, the Guatemalan cryptocurrency exchange Coincaex, the Technological University of Honduras and Santa Lucia's municipality, Reuters also reported.
According to the report, Carlos Leonardo Paguada Velasquez, founder of Blockchain Honduras and representative of the Central American Association of Cryptocurrency Users, said that around 60 businesses whose owners have received training on the use of Bitcoin will kickstart the project.
According to Paguada Velasquez, Coincaex will provide merchants with the necessary equipment for the acceptance of bitcoin as payment.
However, despite the marketing, the initiative solely aims to increase tourist spending of bitcoin as Coincaex's point of sale (POS) machine attempts to ease out the volatility of BTC by delivering the local fiat currency to the merchant instead.
Therefore, if a buyer spends BTC to purchase food in a merchant, "Coincaex will receive the bitcoins and will transfer the payment in [Honduran] lempiras to the restaurant," Paguada Velasquez explained. "Business owners will not receive bitcoin."
Beyond merchant adoption, the initiative also aims to foster local education on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. Local students and entrepreneurs have the opportunity to join classes on Bitcoin and associated technology that will last for over a month.