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The Madeira Bitcoin adoption experiment takes flight

This spring, the Madeiran archipelago “adopted” Bitcoin (BTC). Madeira’s President, Miguel Albuquerque, was invited onto the stage at Bitcoin Miami 2022 by Jan3 CEO Samson Mow to announce the promise.

The president announced, “I believe in the future, and I believe in Bitcoin.” Days prior, Albuquerque was breaking bread with Michael Saylor, executive chairman of MicroStrategy, at his luxury villa. Albuquerque was “orange-pilled” by one of the world’s wealthiest Bitcoin hodlers.

Nonetheless, as Cointelegraph later reported, the island of Madeira was not adopting but, in fact, “embracing” Bitcoin. The European Union governs the Portuguese islands, therefore, they cannot legally adopt Bitcoin as a legal tender. Plus, regulatory hurdles and reliance on EU subsidies and energy pose a challenge to outright Bitcoin adoption.

Author Jeff Booth (left) and podcaster Daniel Prince (right). Source: Youtube  

So Cointelegraph caught up with André Loja, the Madeiran entrepreneur and driving force behind the island’s Bitcoin strategy, following his appearance on stage at Bitcoin Amsterdam 2022.

Taking advice from F.R.E.E Madeira

Over the past six months, Loja has founded The Regional Forum of Economic Education, or F.R.E.E Madeira, alongside Bitcoin big-hitters including Bitcoin author Knut Svanholm and podcaster Daniel Prince. The board’s advisers boast entrepreneur and author Jeff Booth, Fedmint CEO Obi Nwosu, as well as Mow. The group serves to ensure the president upholds his “serious commitment,” Jeff Booth explained, to making Madeira a home for the “new base layer of the new internet.”

The island now boasts a series of Bitcoin-first investments, developments and even Bitcoiner residents, as well as a steady trickle of crypto-curious people who have embarked on their first trip to the island.

Loja told Cointelegraph that while Bitcoin is at the core of economic development and investment, “Madeira is not only investing in Bitcoin, but all kinds of technologies.” For example, a center for ocean-oriented startups and an advanced…

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