Connect with us

Big Data

In El Salvador’s bitcoin beach town, digital divide slows uptake

Published

on

By Nelson Renteria

PLAYA EL ZONTE (Reuters) – The El Salvadoran beach town of El Zonte is visibly poor, with dirt roads and a faulty drainage system. But in one way, it’s ahead of the rest of the country: It has bitcoin.

The tropical surfing spot’s basic infrastructure offers a glimpse of the potential pitfalls to popularizing bitcoin nationally for payments and savings, after Congress last Wednesday adopted the cryptocurrency as legal tender, a world first.

Take Zulma Rivas. The 38-year-old mother of three started accepting bitcoin payments last year for the bags of cut fruit she sells from a tray to tourists, part of an experiment called Bitcoin Beach aimed at making the town one of the world’s first bitcoin economies.

President Nayib Bukele cited Bitcoin Beach as inspiration for his push to adopt the cryptocurrency nationally. The town’s use of a platform called Lightning Network to enable smaller transactions has helped overcome some of the technical and practical obstacles to using bitcoin as a currency, Bitcoin Beach’s founders say, which could be useful on a larger scale.

But for Rivas, cash is king. She rarely uses bitcoin, she says, because like many in the town, her battered smartphone struggles with the payments app. When Reuters visited last week, the device was broken. Anyway, she often runs out of data on her prepaid contract.

Then there is the internet connection, notoriously patchy in rural places like El Zonte, which is 49 km (30 mi) southwest of San Salvador, the capital.

A 2020 study by Microsoft and the Interamerican Development Bank concluded that El Salvador had the second lowest internet penetration of 20 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. At 45%, connectivity was only lower in neighboring Honduras. In rural areas barely one in 10 people have internet access.

Oscar Picardo, director of science, technology and innovation at the University of Francisco Gavidia, said he was excited about the potential of bitcoin to give poor Salvadorans an alternative to banks, but that the experiment in El Zonte was too limited to give him confidence it could work nationally.

“It’s like a mirage,” he said. “The digital divide is enormous, access to the internet is limited for many poor families and there are other priorities and needs,” Picardo said.

Education and training would be needed to ensure people were not at risk of fraud when handling the new currency, he said.

Dania Gonzalez, who heads the finance committee in El Salvador’s Congress, acknowledged during debate about making bitcoin legal tender that there were gaps in internet service, but blamed previous governments.

“This government is trying reduce the divide, delivering computers with internet access to communities in our country’s provinces and training teachers,” she said.

BITCOIN FOR SHAVED ICE

El Zonte’s economy depends on the flow of tourists, especially those who come to surf.

Businesses are small, some housed in palm huts. Water doesn’t always flow. The U.S. government is helping construct a sewer system and a wastewater treatment plant.

Despite the barebones infrastructure, three young Salvadorans in 2019 began the Bitcoin Beach project backed by Californian Michael Peterson, after an “anonymous donation” of bitcoin.

The Salvadorans say the project has changed the lives of El Zonte residents by allowing them to save, invest and obtain profits in a town with no nearby bank branches. During the coronavirus pandemic, releases of bitcoin into the local economy helped people tide over hard times without work.

Peterson last year told the Go Full Crypto podcast that 90% of families in the town of 3,000 people had made a transaction using bitcoin, with a boost from the pandemic. He said young people in town were more comfortable with it than their parents.

“You showed that this is not just for rich people. I mean, this is for everyone,” Bukele said on a Twitter Spaces chat hosted by bitcoin advocate Nic Carter and attended by industry players including representatives of Bitcoin Beach last Tuesday, as the law was being debated in Congress.

“You are the pioneers here,” he said.

Bukele worked on bitcoin adoption with American Jack Mallers, CEO of Zap, which has created an app called Strike to facilitate cash transfers by Salvadorans in the United States to people at home.

Mallers’ representative in El Salvador, Renato Salazar, who is also involved in Bitcoin Beach, said the project in El Zonte, which has helped fund training and workshops, was about education and empowerment, not making people rich.

“The shaved iced seller can now get paid via bitcoin,” Salazar told Salvadoran television last week.

Handing out bags of pineapple, watermelon, mango and cucumber to customers in a beach hut, Rivas insisted many of her fellow vendors still prefer U.S. dollars, the poor Central American country’s currency since 2001.

Blanca Ponce, 30, making tortillas by the beach, said she does not accept bitcoin because she does not make enough money for a smartphone or internet data plan. She also fears the financial risk.

“I find it very difficult to take the little that I earn, invest it in something and not know if it will grow,” Ponce said.

(Reporting by Nelson Renteria, Writing by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Grant McCool)

Image Credit: Reuters

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://datafloq.com/read/in-el-salvadors-bitcoin-beach-town-digital-divide-slows-uptake/15436

Big Data

Vodafone and Unisys team up to boost IT services in digitalisation bet

Published

on

MADRID (Reuters) – British telecom operator Vodafone said on Wednesday it had partnered with information technology firm Unisys to launch ‘Vodafone Digital Factory’ to boost its range of IT services as businesses digitise their activity amid the pandemic.

Vodafone hopes to strengthen its portfolio of specialised digital tools for companies looking to integrate their systems or develop specific software for their platforms, said business general manager Daniel Jimenez.

Unisys will help Vodafone’s corporate clients integrate and develop technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality or blockchain, Ana Rubia, general manager of Unisys Spain, said in a statement.

Mobile and broadband firms across Europe, struggling with shrinking profit and high costs to meet next-generation connectivity demands, have tried to extract value from their IT, cloud, big data and IoT units amid the acceleration of use cases for such services during the pandemic.

(Reporting by Cristina Galán, additional reporting by Clara-Laeila Laudette; editing by Inti Landauro and Steve Orlofsky)

Image Credit: Reuters

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://datafloq.com/read/vodafone-unisys-team-boost-it-services-digitalisation-bet/16691

Continue Reading

Big Data

Vodafone and Unisys team up to boost IT services in digitalisation bet

Published

on

MADRID (Reuters) – British telecom operator Vodafone said on Wednesday it had partnered with information technology firm Unisys to launch ‘Vodafone Digital Factory’ to boost its range of IT services as businesses digitise their activity amid the pandemic.

Vodafone hopes to strengthen its portfolio of specialised digital tools for companies looking to integrate their systems or develop specific software for their platforms, said business general manager Daniel Jimenez.

Unisys will help Vodafone’s corporate clients integrate and develop technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality or blockchain, Ana Rubia, general manager of Unisys Spain, said in a statement.

Mobile and broadband firms across Europe, struggling with shrinking profit and high costs to meet next-generation connectivity demands, have tried to extract value from their IT, cloud, big data and IoT units amid the acceleration of use cases for such services during the pandemic.

(Reporting by Cristina Galán, additional reporting by Clara-Laeila Laudette; editing by Inti Landauro and Steve Orlofsky)

Image Credit: Reuters

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://datafloq.com/read/vodafone-unisys-team-boost-it-services-digitalisation-bet/16691

Continue Reading

Big Data

After Flipkart, Amazon files appeal at India’s Supreme Court in antitrust probe

Published

on

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc on Wednesday filed an appeal with India’s top court against a state court’s order that allowed an antitrust probe against the U.S. firm and Walmart’s Flipkart to continue, according to source and court listings.

A court in south India last week dismissed cases filed by Amazon and Flipkart which sought to quash the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) 2020 investigation on accusations that the companies circumvent Indian law by creating complex business structures.

The companies have denied wrongdoing, but the state court in Karnataka said “they should not feel shy in facing an inquiry.”

Details of Amazon’s plea were not immediately clear. The Supreme Court website showed the case listing of an appeal, without giving further details.

Flipkart challenged the decision in the Supreme Court on Tuesday and has requested a restraint on the CCI after the watchdog asked 32 “sensitive” questions in mid July, in what the firm called an “invasive” investigation.

(Reporting by Aditya Kalra and Abhirup Roy)

Image Credit: Reuters

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://datafloq.com/read/after-flipkart-amazon-files-appeal-indias-supreme-court-antitrust-probe/16690

Continue Reading

Big Data

After Flipkart, Amazon files appeal at India’s Supreme Court in antitrust probe

Published

on

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc on Wednesday filed an appeal with India’s top court against a state court’s order that allowed an antitrust probe against the U.S. firm and Walmart’s Flipkart to continue, according to source and court listings.

A court in south India last week dismissed cases filed by Amazon and Flipkart which sought to quash the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) 2020 investigation on accusations that the companies circumvent Indian law by creating complex business structures.

The companies have denied wrongdoing, but the state court in Karnataka said “they should not feel shy in facing an inquiry.”

Details of Amazon’s plea were not immediately clear. The Supreme Court website showed the case listing of an appeal, without giving further details.

Flipkart challenged the decision in the Supreme Court on Tuesday and has requested a restraint on the CCI after the watchdog asked 32 “sensitive” questions in mid July, in what the firm called an “invasive” investigation.

(Reporting by Aditya Kalra and Abhirup Roy)

Image Credit: Reuters

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://datafloq.com/read/after-flipkart-amazon-files-appeal-indias-supreme-court-antitrust-probe/16690

Continue Reading
Esports4 days ago

Teppei Genshin Impact Voice Actor: Who is it?

Esports4 days ago

Who won Minecraft Championships (MCC) 15? | Final Standings and Scores

Esports5 days ago

Can You Play Pokemon UNITE Offline?

Esports4 days ago

All ranked mode rewards for Pokémon UNITE: Season 1

Aviation3 days ago

Legendary F-14 Pilot Dale ‘Snort’ Snodgrass Dies In A Tragic Plane Crash

Cleantech4 days ago

Form Energy Reveals Iron-Air 100 Hour Storage Battery

Esports4 days ago

Sakura Arborism Genshin Impact: How to Complete

Esports4 days ago

Here are the results for the PUBG Mobile World Invitational (PMWI) West 2021

watch-live-russias-pirs-module-set-to-depart-space-station-today.jpg
Aerospace2 days ago

Watch live: Russia’s Pirs module set to depart space station today

Esports4 days ago

Here are the results for the PUBG Mobile World Invitational (PMWI) East 2021

Techcrunch4 days ago

This Week in Apps: Clubhouse opens up, Twitter talks bitcoin, Snap sees record quarter

best-gengar-build-in-pokemon-unite.png
Esports4 days ago

Best Gengar build in Pokémon UNITE

Cyber Security4 days ago

Threat Actors are Abusing Argo Workflows to Target Kubernetes

Esports4 days ago

Are there ranked rewards in Pokémon UNITE?

Esports4 days ago

Best Garchomp build in Pokémon UNITE

Cyber Security4 days ago

What Programming Language Should I Learn for CyberSecurity?

Esports4 days ago

How to unlock Pokémon in Pokémon UNITE, all Unite License costs

AR/VR4 days ago

Warplanes: WW1 Fighters to See Official Oculus Quest Store Launch This Week

AI3 days ago

What is the Freedom Phone and Should You Buy It?

Blockchain4 days ago

Canadian Border Town Halts Crypto Mining to Draw Up Regulations

Trending