The South American country has elected a pro-Bitcoin president, who has strongly favored the digital currency in his speeches.
Pro-BTC President Coming To Power
President-elect Gustavo Petro, who will come into power on August 7, 2022, has always spoken very highly of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general, indicating that he truly believes in the power of these digital assets. His pro-Bitcoin tweets from before his campaigning days have resurfaced since his election. A tweet from 2017 reads,
“Bitcoin removes power of issuance from the states and the seigniorage of the currency from the banks. It is a community currency that is based on the trust of those who carry out transactions with it, since it is based on the blockchain, trust is measured and grows, hence its strength.”
The crypto trading industry in the country is already one of the most active in South America, inspiring major crypto exchanges like Bitso to launch their Colombia branches. Even, Golden Boot-winning, Colombian football legend James Rodriguez has also launched his own cryptocurrency.
From Crude Oil To Renewable Energy
As the country’s first leftist president, Bitcoin featured heavily in Petro’s campaign. Many experts believe that that was what tilted the election in his favor, as his speeches appealed especially to the younger generation who have grown up in poverty. At present, oil is the number one export for the country, with Colombia featuring among the top producers of crude oil in Latin America.
Petro has pledged to put an end to new exploration for oil and the construction of new large-scale open-pit mines. In short, he is hoping on putting an end to Colombia’s highly oil-dependent economy and make the transition to focus more on renewable energy.
Inspired By El Salvador
In 2021, another Latin American country, El Salvador became the first in the world to officially accept BTC as currency. This move was heavily appreciated by Petro, who proposed replicating the same for Colombia. Soon after legalizing BTC, Salvadorean president Nayib Bukele had announced that he would be tapping into the country's volcanos for renewable geothermal energy to power the increasing Bitcoin mining operations. In response to this strategy, Petro proposed that Colombia should transition to mining Bitcoin as well, instead of producing cocaine. (Currently, Colombia is the world’s largest producer of cocaine.)
Petro talked about empowering the wayu communities, the coal workers of the Cesar region, and the black communities of the Colombian pacific coast with renewable energy (e.g. hydrothermal), which could then be channeled into mining Bitcoin.
“What if the Pacific coast took advantage of the steep falls of the rivers of the western mountains to produce all the energy of the coast and replace cocaine with energy for cryptocurrencies? The cryptocurrency is pure information and therefore energy.”