We’re speaking with individuals who are leading the charge in the crypto revolution by using cryptocurrency in real life to drive financial inclusivity, enterprise, and innovation.
We’re kicking off this series in La Condesa, a leafy neighborhood in Mexico City where you’ll find Mexico’s only dedicated Bitcoin bar, Bitcoin Embassy Bar.
Lorena Ortiz is the Director of Bitcoin Embassy Bar. A self-described punk, she immediately aligned with the values of a decentralized self-sovereign currency when she was first introduced to bitcoin by a friend back in 2015.
“Mexico’s economy has a direct relationship with the US, so having lived through the economic crisis of the 1990s, it’s always been important to me that individuals have accessible forms of value protection that do not depend on the state.”
A social psychology major, when delving further into the crypto space Lorena recognized the importance of building community around new ideologies. So in December 2018 at the very dip of the bear market, Lorena opened the Bitcoin Embassy Bar to support the cryptocurrency movement in Mexico.
“In Latin American culture we learn most effectively in face to face scenarios, so the idea of a physical space dedicated to learning and developing a community made perfect sense to me.”
The pairing of crypto and remittances is also a huge area of interest for Lorena. According to the World Bank, remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean are estimated to have grown 9.3% from 2021 to 2022 to $142 billion with a 15% increase for Mexico alone.
“Mexico receives the most remittances in Latin America but the current remittance services have very high commissions that end up decreasing the received value. Tools like Bitcoin really can help families whose income depends mostly on remittances by helping them to avoid costly fees.”
Drinks are not the only thing on the menu as the space is also a dedicated education venue which teaches individuals about how to use bitcoin and keep it safe.
“We try to hold weekly meetups in which members of the same community, with or without experience, share their knowledge with everyone in a completely relaxed and free environment”.
In these 4 years, we have also organized several workshops to teach tools for the security of handling Bitcoin in a more structured way. Within this space you can also find books, crypto paraphernalia and even an ATM where you can buy and sell Bitcoin”.
Lorena has a core group of community locals who remain faithful to this space, returning week after week to learn more and share with others.
“Since crypto ventures related to crypto have grown exponentially, I believe that in the not too distant future Bitcoin will strengthen in Mexico.”
We can’t wait to see what Lorena does next with Bitcoin Embassy Bar, ¡salud!
Do you have an example to share of how cryptocurrency is being used IRL? Tweet us! @blockchain
Crypto IRL: Mexico’s only Bitcoin Bar was originally published in @blockchain on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.