The 350 members of the Spanish Congress of Deputies received an invitation to accept 1 euro in bitcoin this Wednesday, as part of an initiative that seeks to raise awareness in the political class about the benefits of cryptocurrencies. A similar activity had been organized two days earlier in the United States Congress, where $ 27,000 in freshly mined bitcoins were distributed.
It is an educational campaign led by the Blockchain Observatory and Tutellus, an educational platform, who argue in a Press release that the initiative seeks to expose the “transcendental role that cryptocurrencies are playing in the transformation of the economy and society.”
However, as of this writing, only one deputy had echoed by retweeting a newspaper article that alludes to this activity. Even if it is considered that the initiative was not coordinated with the deputies, this could demonstrate the general disinterest expressed by the Lower House in knowing first-hand a technology that they intend to regulate and that is perceived as a good in terms of paying taxes.
In contrast, activity in the US Congress was driven by the Political Action Committee of the US Chamber of Commerce. Which means that the organization of the campaign was made up of members of Congress and companies like Microsoft, Deloitte, Binance, and Messari.
In this case, special emphasis was placed on demonstrating the origin of the funds so that the 541 members of Congress involved understand the function and scope of the bitcoins they received. The congressmen of Spain do not seem to have been informed regarding the origin of those bitcoins but the initiative seeks that direct and practical experience allows to question factors such as this.
How could MPs access their bitcoins?
The press release from the Blockchain Observatory maintains that this initiative should not be confused with a donation, since the main objective is that deputies can experiment with bitcoin and understand their role in today’s economy and its significance.
To get to this point, Miguel Caballero, founder and CEO of Tutellus, contacted separately and sent an email to each of the ten political groups that make up the hemicycle. He explains that it was the appropriate way because not all the deputies’ emails are public.
In this way, each of the deputies could follow instructions to download the application from a wallet and import private key through a QR code attached to the message.
The application was used to Lightning Network of Bluewallet so that transactions were fast and the commissions were minimal, Caballero clarified.
Why should Bitcoin be a topic of interest to the Congress of Spain?
Covadonga Fernández, director of the Blockchain Observatory, considers that The money transformation process has accelerated greatly in recent years as a result of the birth of Bitcoin. “Things are changing very quickly and the consequences of being left behind can be very serious,” Fernández said when contacted by CriptoNoticias.
“At a time when it seems that digital transformation is being really taken seriously, with a Plan of 140,000 million euros announced by the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, it is important that blockchain and cryptocurrencies are present.”
Covadonga Fernández, director of the Blockchain Observatory.
In July 2020, the President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, announced a plan for the digitization of Spain for the next 5 years. The objective is to close the digital gap between the different sectors of society (exposed by the Coronavirus crisis), concentrating efforts on the development of the technology industry and digital education.
In this sense, the Congress of Spain approved in mid-September a Bill for the digital transformation of the Spanish financial system. the same includes creating a sandbox regulatory for Fintech innovations, where projects with blockchains and cryptocurrencies would be involved, as reported by CriptoNoticias.
For his part, Miguel Caballero, who was consulted by this means about the meaning of this moment to carry out this initiative, said: “And why not? I mean, we came up with the idea, CBDCs are ‘hot’, the ECB is going to launch a digital euro and it’s a good time. “
In September, the European Central Bank released a report that will be the basis for a public consultation on the creation of the digital euro, as reported by CriptoNoticias.
The digital euro is not exactly a cryptocurrency nor is it intended to replace the euro. But, like other central bank digital currency projects, it appears to have emerged as a response to a transformation fueled by the rise of Bitcoin.
In this climate, both Fernández and Caballero agree that it is time to confront political leaders to take a position on the role of bitcoin in the economy.
According to the declarations of assets that the deputies have presented to the Congress of Spain, not everyone is unaware of the concept and use of cryptocurrencies. Deputy Pablo Echenique was the first Spanish politician to to declare who owns bitcoin and litecoin. The Captain of the Air Force, Carlos Fernández-Roca, declared over EUR 14,300 worth of crypto last year.
By contrast, a certain sector has expressed opinions misinformed about what bitcoin is. As happened at the end of 2019 when the deputy Adriana Lastra explained her own conception about bitcoin and reduced the role of this technology to the concept of fraud.