An update on the launch of Bitcoin in the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira, which according to businessman Jeff Booth “is the largest Bitcoin beach in the EU.”
This spring, the Madeira archipelago “adopted” Bitcoin.

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. Madeira President Miguel Albuquerque was invited by Jan3 CEO Samson Mow on stage at Bitcoin Miami 2022 to announce the commitment.

The president announced: “I believe in the future and I believe in Bitcoin.” Days earlier, Albuquerque broke bread with MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor at his lavish mansion. Albuquerque has been “orange filled” by one of the world’s richest bitcoin hodlers.

However, as Cointelegraph later reported, the island of Madeira did not adopt, but actually “dumped” Bitcoin. The European Union governs the Portuguese islands, therefore they cannot legally adopt Bitcoin as legal tender. Additionally, regulatory hurdles and reliance on EU subsidies and energy pose a challenge to the actual adoption of Bitcoin.

Author Jeff Booth (left) and podcaster Daniel Prince (right). Source: Youtube
So Cointelegraph caught up with André Loja, the Madeiran businessman and the driving force behind the island’s Bitcoin strategy, after he appeared on stage at Bitcoin Amsterdam 2022.

Tips from F.R.E.E Madeira
In the past six months, Loja founded the Regional Economic Education Forum, or F.R.E.E.E Madeira, alongside Bitcoin greats including Bitcoin author Knut Svanholm and podcaster Daniel Prince. Advisors to the board included businessman and author Jeff Booth, Fedmint CEO Obi Nwosu, as well as Mow. The group serves to ensure that the president maintains his “serious commitment,” explained Jeff Booth, to making Madeira a home for the “new base layer of the new Internet.”

The island now has a number of bitcoin investments, developments, and even residents, as well as a steady trickle of crypto-curious people embarking on their first trip to the island.

D’Loja told Cointelegraph that if Bitcoin is at the center of economic development and investment, “Madeira invests not only in Bitcoin, but in all kinds of technologies.” For example, a center for ocean-oriented start-ups and an advanced medical center are under construction.

Madeira, Madeira, Portugal, Bitcoin Community
These economic activities fit with the president’s perspective of embracing new technologies and working in Madeira, building on his reputation as a unique haven for older generations. Still, these developments in broader technology pale in comparison to the progress made in adopting the world’s largest cryptocurrency.

After a series of conversations with Bitcoin OGs, including privacy advocate Matt Odell and Parker Lewis of Unchained Capital, Madeira was given the green light to establish a Bitcoin Commons. “It’s basically a big bitcoin-only coworking space. It’ll also be a place for the association to park,” Loja said. Bitcoin Commons is a space for the non-profit organization, F.R.E.E. Madeira, to flourish:

“We will have a podcast room there, we will do the [Bitcoin] meetings, we will do the educational part there. We will also have the remittances set up there with the ATM and so on to connect with the diaspora.” .
The Madeiran diaspora is spread all over the world. Lucinda Castro, a Madeiran lawyer on the FREE board of directors, told Cointelegraph in June that “Madeirans have migrated by the thousands to Venezuela, the United States, and Canada.” including second and third generation immigrants, there are now more than a million Madeirans in Venezuela. Therefore, the use case for Bitcoin as a transfer tool for Madeirans is compelling.

Sending money home from abroad has played a role in El Salvador’s move to adopt bitcoin as legal tender, while another small island nation, Tonga, has also come out in support of bitcoin transfers.

Bitcoin Commons will also support human development with the establishment of a coding academy. The academy encourages bitcoin businesses from around the world to travel to Madeira to learn new skills, while also giving locals a space to hone their digital skills on the island. The Bitcoin Academy, as it will be known, also sheds light on the Lightning Network, the layer 2 payment network.

Will Bitcoin be the default in Madeira?
As it is, bitcoin believers can buy real estate, invest and mingle with the budding bitcoin community on the island, Loja explained. On stage at Bitcoin Amsterdam 2022, Jeff Booth announced his intention to invest in the island and added

Source: CoinTelegraph