Costa Rica could follow Bitcoin Adoption in Latin America

Costa Rica has a domestic regulation that allows the use of cryptocurrencies without any limitations.

Costa Rica could follow BTC Adoption in LatAm
Costa Rica could follow BTC Adoption in LatAm (Pic by Zdeněk Macháček, @zmachacek on Unsplash)

Key facts

  • Bitcoin is not regulated in Costa Rica but is accepted as an asset by the Central Bank.

  • Workers in this country can receive part of their salary in cryptocurrencies.

Costa Rica is one of the few countries in Latin America with one of the most open regulations on using Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. According to a recent study, the public opinion points out that the country has lagged behind other countries in adopting Bitcoin.

The study, conducted by the marketing agency Sherlock Communications and presented at the end of September, explores the entire cryptocurrency ecosystem in Latin America. For the case of Costa Rica, the agency surveyed mid-August of this year to determine what Costa Ricans think about adopting Bitcoin and follow the example of El Salvador, which by that date had already approved the Bitcoin Law last June.

As the study highlights, Costa Rica openly accepts the use of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, based on article number 166 of the labor code that establishes that Costa Ricans can use commonly accepted goods as means of payment, including crypto assets.

The Central Bank of Costa Rica, as cited by the Sherlock Communications study, does not have a direct regulation on the use of cryptocurrencies. Since 2017 they issued a statement establishing that using cryptocurrencies will be at the citizens' own risk.

According to the study, about 30% of the country's population considers lagging behind other countries. In comparison, 12% felt that cryptocurrencies do not have much of a future in Costa Rica.

Survey results about Bitcoin sentiment in Costa Rica
Survey results about Bitcoin sentiment in Costa Rica (Source: Sherlock Communications)

Another exciting fact cited by the research is that in Costa Rica, several businesses accept crypto as payment. There are also several Bitcoin ATMs in operation in the country, showing that the population already has slight contact with the world of cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin mining with renewable energies, an option in Costa Rica

In recent days, El Salvador started its bitcoin mining industry, powered by geothermal energy from volcanoes in the area. Geothermal energy sources would mean an ecological mining model with no carbon footprint.

In this regard, as highlighted by the Sherlock Communications study, 90% of all energy produced in Costa Rica comes from renewable sources. According to other sources consulted, current volumes reach 99% of the total in 2021, a fraction of which, like El Salvador, comes from geothermal energy.

In the future, it could be an incentive for miners aiming at more environmentally friendly and profitable mining, considering that Costa Rica is in the middle of the table for electricity consumption costs among all Latin American countries.

The Bitcoin ecosystem in Costa Rica

Sherlock Communications mentions that Costa Rica has adopted Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies "extremely quickly." Adoption is a growing market within which different projects have been born, such as the Tico Blockchain conference, which brings together personalities from the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency fields.

Cambiatus, a platform based on Bitcoin technology, which allows the creation of personalized tokens, has helped promote "ecological awareness" through incentives paid directly in cryptocurrencies, thus boosting the local economy.

Costa Rica could potentially become the next El Salvador, thanks to its openness to cryptocurrencies and the good ecosystem that currently resides in the country. For now, it is up to the regulators, who have the last word on whether to accept bitcoin as legal tender in Costa Rica or to keep it as just another means of payment.

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