The use of Bitcoin (BTC) in Guatemala appears to be on the up. The Central American nation is currently getting inked on the path to a bigger Bitcoin adoption by merchants. Notably, the El Salvador neighbor boasts Guatemalan-grown Bitcoin companies including Osmo and Ibex, a few Bitcoin Beach-inspired projects including Bitcoin Lake, and now, a variety of free BTC tattoos.
A 2022 Bitcoin merchant adoption competition that was hosted by Osmo Wallet – a Guatemala-based Bitcoin firm – led to the free ink promotion. Reporters caught up with the co-founder of Osmo Wallet, Piero Coen, and Steven Marroquin, the owner of Soul’s Anchor, which is a tattoo parlor in Guatemala City.
Coen explained how the mission is to get more people to use Bitcoin:
“So we ran a competition among merchants to see who would process the most volume in Bitcoin sales in 2022. Turns out Soul’s Anchor Tattoo Shop in Guatemala City, who started accepting Bitcoin payments using Osmobusiness back in October, won the competition.”
Merchant adoption is not anything new in Guatemala. So they thought about how they would make things more exciting. They resolved to offer free Bitcoin tattoos to clients believing that it might be a Bitcoin-friendly and exciting marketing tactic. Coen commented:
“It was a huge hit. All the slots filled up in hours!”
Guatemalan Bitcoin proponents and Bitcoin tourists came into the store to ink their favorite Bitcoin meme, quote, or art onto their skin. The owner of Souls Anchor, Marroquin, explained:
“It’s been around seven months since we officially accepted Bitcoin and have two to three customers per month.”
It is a small amount, but the payments are on the rise, he added:
“The first months we had only one customer, and even though it’s still a few percentages of our income, probably 1%, we are happy to have started accepting it.”
Coen explained that “it’s still super early” for Bitcoin adoption in Guatemala and:
“Most business owners are still unsure about accepting and holding onto Bitcoin because of the volatility.”
By supporting instant Bitcoin to fiat currency conversion at the payment merchant terminal, the merchants can sidestep the volatility. Instant Bitcoin to fiat conversion is becoming a major trend in the Bitcoin payments space, as firms like CoinCorner and Strike – headed up by Jack Mallers – offer similar solutions. Bitcoin as a means of exchange is escalating and Coen is highly optimistic about its future:
“Bitcoin adoption in Guatemala City is on the rise, every day we see more and more people getting into it, learning about it and stacking up on Sats.”
Rikki, one-half of the Bitcoin Explorers couple who spent up to 45 days living off Bitcoin only in El Salvador, recently went on a tour around Guatemala, paying his way in Bitcoin. He told reporters that the level of “adoption of Bitcoin in Guatemala has really surprised us,” referring to himself and his wife Laura.
“Locals are curious, they want to learn about Bitcoin and see it as an important alternative to credit cards whose fees are very high in the country.”
Notably, by accepting Bitcoin, businesses can save more than 50% on transaction costs when compared to credit card payments. Coen commented:
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“So the incentives are there.”
Rikki added that “orange-pilling” efforts by Guatemalan-based firms like Osmo and Ibex, are striving to increase awareness of the nascent technology. The couple said that they visited the Bitcoin Lake, a Bitcoin-beach-style community project, where a Guatemalan mayor is mining Bitcoin in his office. They also got inked as part of the promotion.
“We found the tattoo idea very cute. It is a company that wants to reward its shopkeeper who has received the most Bitcoin transactions by promoting its business.”
Bitcoin and crypto tattoos are majorly common as crypto proponents and advocates brand themselves with their choice of coin. But, crypto tattoos can at times go very, very wrong.
Take the example of the Galaxy Digital founder, Mike Novogratz, as a great example. His Terra (LUNA) tattoo is a continuous reminder that investing needs humility. The LUNA token crashed by more than 99% in 2021. Fortunately, the Bitcoin tattoos are safe thanks to a January price pump.
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