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Latin-American Students Learn About Bitcoin

By: Mercedes Azurdia - Aug 29, 2013, 11:18 am

Yesterday evening, 75 students participated in the first webinar of its kind in Spanish, “Bitcoins: The Currency of the Future?” The Latin-American organization, Estudiantes por la Libertad (the regional division of the US-based Students for Liberty) hosted the eager audience.

Mauro Betschart, founder of BTC Global, a Uruguayan company that sells Bitcoins, led the conference. He explained how the new currency allows people to perform transactions on the open market and facilitate exchange worldwide.

In addition to the conference, the delegates of Estudiantes por la Libertad in Guatemala gathered at least 15 students at Universidad Francisco Marroquín to discuss the Bitcoin phenomenon (pictured below). In the discussion, students listed the benefits of having a crypto-currency (a coin encrypted to avoid hacking), such as security against counterfeiting, competition in the market with other digital currencies, certainty that the price is not at the whim of government regulation, and a lack of or lower fees for exchanges between currencies and intermediaries.

Bitcoin Webinar

The students also expressed concern about the risks of a new currency, among them, that better ways to exchange money might draw in and facilitate drug trafficking. That in turn could provide cover to Latin-American governments who wish to impose heavier regulations on the currency market.

Ricardo Avelar, a Salvadoran policy analyst from the classical liberal advocacy and educational organization CREO, attended the online conference. He said that the experience was new to many people and that “for those not familiar with Bitcoin, at the beginning they might have been confused about how a currency worked without the support and regulation of a government.”

“This webinar made ​​us question our basic premises and motivated us to get away from any preconceived box we had.”

According to José Alberto Niño, member of the Board of Estudiantes por la Libertad, there were 177 registrations for the webinar — a rate above the average expected for that program compared to the other online conferences conducted by Students for Liberty in the United States and in Europe.

“With this event, we have just started our program of webinars, which we expect to launch more successfully this season,” Niño shared.

Mercedes Azurdia Mercedes Azurdia

Reporter and Spanish editor with the PanAm Post, Azurdia is based in Guatemala City, Guatemala, and also writes for Contrapoder Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @MercedesAzurdia.