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Company Name: Mi Primer Bitcoin

Founder: John Dennehy

Date Founded: August 2021

Location of Headquarters: El Salvador

Amount of Bitcoin Held in Treasury: Approximately 0.5 BTC

Number of Employees: 21

Website: https://miprimerbitcoin.io/

Public or Private? Private (Non-earnings)

John Dennehy wishes to change the world — and he thinks that Bitcoin education is a method to do so.

Dennehy sees Bitcoin as a tool to assist people recover firm in their lives, and he comprehends that education is important to assisting individuals utilize this tool.

So, in late-2021, he produced a Bitcoin education platform called Mi Primer Bitcoin (My First Bitcoin) as a method to empower daily Salvadorans.

He thinks that for the Bitcoin transformation to really prosper, Bitcoin users need to completely comprehend the innovation with which they’re engaging.

“Education naturally will push back against any attempts to co-opt the revolutionary spirit of Bitcoin,” Dennehy informed Bitcoin Magazine.

And while Dennehy doesn’t think twice to consider higher Bitcoin adoption as anything less than a transformation, bear in mind that his method is more like Gandhi’s and less like Guevara’s.

Dennehy is a soft-spoken, reflective and kind-hearted individual who’s especially thoughtful in his method.

Some of the earliest Mi Primer Bitcoin employee at the Adopting Bitcoin conference in El Salvador.

The Inspiration For Mi Primer Bitcoin

In early 2021, like much of us throughout the COVID lockdowns, Dennehy was worried about how helpless individuals felt and wished to find a solution for it.

“I was in New York during the pandemic, and I spent a lot of time on long walks contemplating the state of the world and the direction that society was heading in,” stated Dennehy.

“My conclusion was that the root of the problem was that we had collectively lost agency, we had lost sovereignty — the individual had lost agency in their own life — and that had a lot of negative second and third order effects,” he included.

“The solution was Bitcoin education. The solution was to bring more people into Bitcoin and do it in a way that empowers and encourages people to think for themselves, to think critically, and to take control of their own life and their own future.”

Riding the wave of motivation, Dennehy reserved a flight to Ecuador, a nation in which he’d formerly lived and a location that “wasn’t well served by the current system,” as he put it, to start his Bitcoin education objective.

A First Attempt

Dennehy got here in Ecuador in June 2021. There, he attempted to inform buddies about Bitcoin, however had a hard time to get individuals to satisfy face to face since of the pandemic. Without in-person conferences, he discovered it challenging to get in touch with individuals.

“Wrong place, wrong time,” stated Dennehy of his experience in Ecuador.

While in Ecuador, however, Dennehy got word of President of El Salvador Nayib Bukele’s statement that bitcoin was to end up being legal tender in El Salvador.

After snapping out of his near shock, Dennehy reserved his next flight, a one-way ticket to El Salvador, to assist the nation make history.

“I decided to sell my possessions, get a one-way ticket to El Salvador to try to see how I could help make it successful,” Dennehy stated. “As the first nation in the world to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender, for better or worse, El Salvador was going to be an example for the world, and I thought it was of the utmost importance that it was a good example.”

Humble Beginnings

Dennehy landed in El Salvador and rapidly prepared Mi Primer Bitcoin’s objective declaration in addition to some lesson strategies. He also started to hire both trainees and instructors.

“The tactic was to talk to every Salvadoran I met — the Uber driver, the waitress at the restaurant, the person standing next to me waiting to cross the street — about Bitcoin,” stated Dennehy.

“Before the first class, there were a couple of meetings of this very random group of people. They came to my Airbnb and talked about [Bitcoin] as a group,” he stated.

“Of that group, a couple of people would volunteer with the project.”

Despite his years of experience as an ESL instructor and bike riding trainer, Dennehy understood from the start that he wasn’t the ideal individual to teach in the program he intended to develop. Instead, he desired residents to play that function.

“From the start, one of the founding concepts was that it should be community led, which means that the teachers should be able to relate to their students in a way that I just never would be able to,” Dennehy discussed. “So, as a hard and fast rule, all the teachers here in El Salvador are Salvadoran.”

The very first class was taught in a yoga studio in between classes and had a massive overall of one trainee participate in. But by the end of the very first month, an overall of 5 had actually gone to classes, which were kept in that very same yoga studio or in cafés or dining establishments.

Developing Mi Primer Bitcoin’s “Bitcoin Diploma” Program

By February 2022, Dennehy and the growing group at Mi Primer Bitcoin began to develop an appropriate curriculum, which it would call its “Bitcoin Diploma” program.

“We went through the 2022 calendar year with three versions of [the program],” stated Dennehy.

“We were just iterating very quickly. We didn’t start to build it until February, and the third version was complete in September,” he included.

Dennehy also shared that feedback from trainees on what was and wasn’t working considerably notified the procedure.

In consulting with Dennehy, I thought that developing a curriculum was barely among the most significant obstacles the company has actually dealt with.

Bitcoin Diploma graduates in El Salvador flaunting their diplomas.

The Challenges Of Running Mi Primer Bitcoin

A relentless obstacle Mi Primer Bitcoin has actually dealt with given that its early days has actually been developing the non-profit’s self-reliance and impartiality.

Dennehy went over the number of Salvadorans partner Bitcoin with the Salvadoran federal government, an organization about which numerous in the nation have actually polarized sensations.

“Early on, there was a strong association here in El Salvador with the government and Bitcoin,” stated Dennehy.

“People that liked the government tended to like Bitcoin. People that didn’t like the government tended to not like Bitcoin. There were even people that thought that Nayib Bukele invented Bitcoin. That was a common perception in these early days,” he included.

“So, there is a strong association that Bitcoin had with the government. An early struggle was to show people that Bitcoin is separate. Bitcoin is independent. And so are we.”

Dennehy explained that this obstacle still stays, particularly as Mi Primer Bitcoin now works within the general public school system in El Salvador.

“We’re always trying to assert our independence and not just in deed, but in perception,” he discussed.

“Working with the government just amplifies that challenge of separating ourselves in the perception of others from the government,” he included.

“One of the ways that we meet that first challenge of not being dependent on the government is, as a point of principle. We never accept funding from the government.”

International Bitcoiners administering an examination to Salvadoran trainees before their graduation.

Another obstacle Mi Primer Bitcoin deals with is keeping its 21 staff members paid by means of a donation-based system, an obstacle that’s enhanced by the truth that the company doesn’t accept contributions that feature strings connected.

“We turn down most offers for sponsorships,” stated Dennehy. “Four out of five offers for sponsorships we turn down, because four out of five come with strings attached.”

However, noteworthy organizations in the Bitcoin area have actually started to relieve a few of Mi Primer Bitcoin’s monetary concern.

“We get grants from HRF, OpenSats and Block,” stated Dennehy.

“All of those come without strings attached, which is great,” he included.

“I think grants might start to take up a bigger slice of the pie, but from the start until now, the majority of our funding has come from grassroots support.”

Mi Primer Bitcoin Goes Global

Mi Primer Bitcoin’s education products and curriculum are complimentary to download and utilize. This has actually made it simple for instructors around the globe to embrace the non-profit’s curriculum.

And Mi Primer Bitcoin also supports its global instructors that head Bitcoin instructional efforts in their particular home nations, members of Mi Primer Bitcoin that the company describes as “Light Nodes.”

“We have 33 nodes in 22 countries, and we all get together and share best practices,” discussed Dennehy.

“Maybe a teacher in Argentina will guest teach for a project that started in Columbia. We have a node in Cuba and a node in the Dominican Republic, and they’re actually co-teaching,” he included.

When I asked Dennehy how rapidly Mi Primer Bitcoin’s design is spreading out on a scale of one to 10, he reacted with a “10,” with little doubt. He also explained that attempting to broaden Mi Primer Bitcoin faster would just trigger the organization to wander off from its objective.

“I think the only way that this spreads faster is if we compromise our values, if we centralize and dictate rather than decentralize and empower,” Dennehy specified.

“We are trying to reimagine what’s possible for the next generation and that often means we have to forge a new path. If we are trying to teach others that a different future is possible, we must demonstrate that ourselves,” he included.

“What you say isn’t important, what you do is everything.”

Dennehy went on to discuss that Mi Primer Bitcoin has actually gotten 4 Light Node applications in the previous 2 days which he’s astonished by how rapidly things are speeding up.

Never in his wildest dreams did he see Mi Primer Bitcoin growing so rapidly.

“I’m a dreamer. I’m an idealist. That’s why I’m here,” stated Dennehy. “But if you told me two and a half years ago we would have taught tens of thousands of students in person, and we would have inspired and helped facilitate this in dozens of other countries, I’d be like, ‘No way. Maybe in like 10 years.’”

The initially finishing class of the Light Node network in India.

Remaining Mission-Driven

As Mi Primer Bitcoin advances, Dennehy thinks that the company needs to continue to imitate Bitcoin itself if it’s to stay real to its objective of empowering others.

“Everything that we do at Mi Primer Bitcoin, we try to learn from Bitcoin itself,” Dennehy shared. “And decentralization is really important to us, because we want to empower others rather than control them.”

And his view on what this empowerment appears like appears to be more refined than ever.

“Bitcoin education is a means to an end, and that end is empowerment,” stated Dennehy.

“Once you realize that you have control over your money, that you could have more control over your present, it flips the incentive structure. In the fiat world, we’re disincentivized to look into the future, to build, to create, because the rules of the game might change. I could start a business today, but the rules of the game that will greatly influence whether it’s successful or not are not up to me and could change at any moment. So, it encourages us to be followers rather than leaders,” he discussed.

“Bitcoin is something that flips a switch that ‘Okay, I could have more control of my money, which gives me more control of my present which makes it easier to build out into the future, because I’m not relying on the whims of someone else.’ The more we can insert ourselves into defining our own destiny, the more we are encouraged and incentivized to look into the future — to build and create. That’s the end, and Bitcoin education is the means to that end.”

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