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Bitcoin crowdfunding is Lightning: El Salvador school program hits 1 BTC in donations

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There’s a beacon of light in the bear market tunnel. The Salvadoran nonprofit program Mi Primer Bitcoin, or My First Bitcoin, has raised over 1 Bitcoin (BTC) in donations — not from venture capitalists and investors but from generous Bitcoin education advocates worldwide.

Donations flooded in from countries like Venezuela, Poland and Canada as hundreds of people worldwide sent satoshis (Bitcoin’s smallest denomination) over the Lightning Network to fund the expansion of My First Bitcoin’s Bitcoin Diploma program.

We did it! We crowdfunded 1 BTC on @geyserfund in April
A matching donation from @Bitcoinbeach put us over the top last night–what a way to end the month 🙂
Huge THANK YOU to the 250+ donors who got us here
This is a movement that we are all part of & edu is how we will win

— Mi Primer Bitcoin (@MyfirstBitcoin_) May 1, 2023

Cointelegraph reached out to John Dennehy, founder of My First Bitcoin, to understand how the crowdfunding campaign reached 1 BTC in less than three weeks. Dennehy told Cointelegraph, “Bitcoin’s greatest potential is empowering the individual, and making it easy to donate value is a big part of that.”

“Bitcoin crowdfunding makes it possible for anyone to participate, which is revolutionary when compared to the existing fiat system that restricts who can participate. This is a way to level the playing field.”

Unlike PayPal or GoFundMe, Bitcoin’s censorship-resistant, self-sovereign properties make it one of the most efficient ways to send money online. Plus, it’s far cheaper. Money is sent over the layer-2 Lightning Network, which costs a fraction of legacy payment services. Dennehy explained:

“Bitcoin crowdfunding is an example of how Bitcoin allows people to take control of their own money.”

The crowdfunding campaign was boosted by the efforts of Bitcoin Beach, the Bitcoin circular community in El Zonte on El Salvador’s Pacific coast. Bitcoin Beach was the spark that led to BTC being declared legal tender in El Salvador in 2021. On April 27, Bitcoin Beach declared it would match all donations to the project until midnight on April 27:

For those of you waiting to donate till #BTC goes back to $60k You can effectively do that for the next hour——-For the next hour we will match your donations to ⁦@MyfirstBitcoin_⁩ so double your giving power Primer Bitcoin 2- 2023 Expansion | Geyser https://t.co/F4w29zXNYQ

— Bitcoin Beach (@Bitcoinbeach) April 27, 2023

Regardless, the campaign had begun with lightning-fast levels of generosity. MetaMick, the founder of Bitcoin crowdfunding platform Geyser — which My First Bitcoin used for its fundraiser — told Cointelegraph, “Definitely the biggest educational project on Geyser ever! Insane traction in just a day!” He added that it was the third-largest crowdfund ever on Geyser after just one day.

Related: El Salvador’s ‘My First Bitcoin’: How to teach a nation about crypto

Indeed, Geyser hit a new record in April, reaching over 2 BTC in donations:

Geyser fundraising levels per month. Source: Kevin Rooke on Twitter

Despite Bitcoin’s price grinding lower — and wiping out traders — the Bitcoin community continues to build and educate. As Dennehy summed up:

“We are inspired every day by the support we receive from the Bitcoin community. We couldn’t do what we do without it.”

To date, My First Bitcoin has educated 6,000 students in El Salvador. Cointelegraph attended its second graduation ceremony in San Marcos in November 2021.

Magazine: What it’s actually like to use Bitcoin in El Salvador

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