It’s Easter and some relatives of yours want to come visit. They live in a remote area of the country and aren’t exactly wealthy. On a Friday afternoon they asked you to wire them some money to help with travel expenses and, as expected, if you try to go with traditional financial institutions they will only receive the money after the weekend.
The above scenario happened to me and if only more businesses accepted bitcoin in Portugal, the problem would’ve easily been solved in minutes. Bitcoin’s decentralized, peer-to-peer nature empowers people, gives them control over their own money, and fits in all the fundamental properties of money better than gold or fiat.
Yet, a prominent Portuguese newspaper, Jornal de Negócios, recently published a piece dubbed “Portugal is no country for bitcoin”, in which the writer explains electricity costs aren’t as cheap as they are in some other countries and, as such, there aren’t any major bitcoin miners in the country.
Over here, one kWh costs roughly $0.1105, according to the article, and that forces local miners to either make a substantial investment or lose money mining, as making a profit will be hard without the best hardware out there – just like in any other country in the world by now.
Although I do agree making a profit mining bitcoin might be a challenge, it is wrong to claim Portugal is no country for bitcoin, at least without specifying mining operations, as there is a lot of information neglected in the article. Otherwise, those learning about bitcoin may get the wrong picture.
I Never Printed Fiat Money
The articles’ claim that bitcoin’s place isn’t in Portugal because it isn’t easy to mine it profitably would leave our fiat currency, the euro, in a much darker place, as no citizen can legally print them out.
Yet, we transact in euros, a less secure, centralized currency whose value the people have absolutely no control of, on a daily basis. Moreover, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of different ways to acquire bitcoin, without mining one single satoshis: exchanges and r/Jobs4Bitcoins are great examples.
Even Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates himself said bitcoin is better than fiat currency:
As previously reported by CCN, the Bank of Portugal has issued a statement back in 2013 in which it states bitcoin has no central authority to control it, and that it has no legal tender in the country.
Now more than ever bitcoin is needed in Portugal as our financial system is apparently letting us down. Back in 2015, over 500 people lost their lifetime savings because they were led to invest in dubious financial applications they weren’t even told were risky in the first place. Their representative once told the media (translated statement):
These are people that lost everything because of the banking system, and the lack of [proper] surveillance.
Last month, our media reported another financial institution, Montepio, could be in trouble, as its major shareholder reportedly has a €107 million hole in the balance sheet. The reports forced consumer protection organization DECO to warn against certain financial products as these aren’t properly supervised.