Madeira ‘embraces’ Bitcoin and how the president met Michael Saylor

by Gordon James

Madeira is a Portuguese island, and the President of Madeira visited Michael Saylor to learn about Bitcoin. The two shared their excitement for cryptocurrency with each other, which led to an agreement on a new regulation that will protect blockchain-based businesses in the country.

Madeira ‘embraces’ Bitcoin and how the president met Michael Saylor. Madeira is a city in Portugal, and has embraced cryptocurrency with open arms. The President of Madeira, Miguel Albuquerque, met with Michael Saylor, who is the co-founder of Bitcoin Foundation. Read more in detail here: microstrategy stock bitcoin.

Madeira, a small Portuguese island, has “accepted” Bitcoin (BTC), but what does this mean? The declaration, made in 2022 at the Bitcoin Miami Conference, has caused a lot of uncertainty and disinformation.

In April, Miguel Albuquerque, the President of the Regional Government of Madeira, took to the stage to declare that he believes in the “future of Bitcoin” and that he would endeavor to “create a beautiful environment for Bitcoin.” However, the specifics remained a mystery. 

Cointelegraph met with André Loja, a Madeiran entrepreneur who pioneered the idea to introduce Bitcoin to the Atlantic Ocean archipelago, to learn more about how Bitcoin is influencing the growth of the islands.

Madeira ‘embraces’ Bitcoin and how the president met Michael Saylor

On April 7, when Samson Mow enthusiastically proclaimed that Madeira “would be embracing Bitcoin,” the island of Madeira erupted into the Bitcoin international map.

News agencies all around the globe stated that Madeira has embraced Bitcoin as legal money after the announcement. This, however, was not the case. Prior to Samson Mow’s statement, Loja told Cointelegraph that he would have wanted to use the phrase “Madeira is adopting Bitcoin.”

“We support it and welcome it.” We’re not ‘adopting’ Bitcoin since doing so would imply that we’re making it legal tender when it already is.”

Indeed, Bitcoin capital gains are tax-free in Madeira and Portugal, which is 1,000 kilometers northeast of the island. That implies that any disposal, spending, or usage of Bitcoin by the island’s 250,000 residents is not need to be reported to tax authorities.

Just weeks before the summit, Loja orange-pilled the president of Madeira, presenting his vision for Bitcoin as a way to not just attract international investment, but also to “defend my island from the monetary system.”

Albuquerque happened to drop by Loja’s coworking space — one of the few locations in Madeira that accepts Bitcoin — and Loja leaped at the chance to convey his enthusiasm for the cryptocurrency. The COVID-19 epidemic crippled Madeira, causing essential tourist earnings to plummet. As a result, Loja presented the president with a Bitcoin future as a way to diversify and reorganize Madeira’s economy, among other benefits.

Loja rapidly enlisted the aid of Bitcoiners all across the globe, including Daniel Prince, a well-known Bitcoin podcaster; Jeff Booth, author of The Price of Tomorrow; and even Michael Saylor, CEO of Microstrategy.

The Bitcoiner all-star squad contacted the organizers of Bitcoin Miami 2022 within weeks to arrange for the president’s attendance on stage. Finally, having the head of state of an autonomous territory support Bitcoin was too good to pass up.

Loja and Albuquerque were welcomed to Saylor’s opulent Miami estate upon their arrival, “with the boats and everything,” Loja joked. While Loja had previously orange-pilled the president, Saylor’s chat was different:

“When Michael Saylor sat down with President Albuquerque, he sat down with his head!”

“You need to concentrate on Bitcoin,” Saylor told Albuquerque. Everything else is a waste of time.” The seminar provided enough preparation for the president to take the stage in front of 25,000 Bitcoin aficionados, and it was a talk he will not soon forget.

The declaration that Madeira would embrace Bitcoin will “kickstart an ambition” for Madeira to become an island where Bitcoin thrives alongside the inhabitants, according to Loja. “It begins with education: the most crucial thing,” says Loja, who has previously translated famous Bitcoin books into Portuguese.

Madeira ‘embraces’ Bitcoin and how the president met Michael SaylorIn Madeira in May 2022, Loja (far right), President Albuquerque (middle with book), and Knut Svanholm (far left). Loja (source)

During the bear market of 2018, Loja cut his teeth. Loja is a committed educator who collaborates with other educators in the sector, such as Knut Svanholm, author of Bitcoin: Everything Divided by 21 Million, to teach solid money principles:

“I have a lot of ideas, from kindergarten to schools to seminars for adults — and I want to invite people from all over the island.” As consultants, the association will have the finest.”

To that purpose, Loja is establishing the Sound Money Foundation, a Madeira-based Bitcoin instruction center. The institute, which has the backing of Samson Mow and Jeff Booth among others, aims to educate residents about cryptocurrencies from an early age.

Along with the education push and an emphasis on boosting “financial literacy,” Loja’s community also entices Bitcoin businesses with lucrative tax breaks. Companies paying business tax at the International Business Center pay just 5%, which is a very low rate. Individual Bitcoiners previously flocked to Portugal, but businesses might now gain as well. 

Bitcoin, Bukele, and a slew of central bankers are gathering in El Salvador.

Loja envisions the autonomous government of Madeira mining Bitcoin using unused renewable energy — the island has plenty of wind and sunshine — and even implementing “a multi-signature wallet enabling the government to interact with Bitcoin financially” in the future.

Madeira ‘embraces’ Bitcoin and how the president met Michael SaylorThe worldwide commercial hub of Madeira.

As a consequence, by seizing possession of the private keys, the government would have complete custody of the Bitcoin it mines. Because the electrical power system is a separate “public firm,” all Bitcoin mined by it would go into government multi-sig wallets, according to Loja.

Madeira’s stance to Bitcoin, in essence, extends beyond the celebrated legal tender status. The island is gradually veering towards a Bitcoin future, from public sector Bitcoin mining to education to state-run multi-sig wallets to having Michael Saylor on quick dial. 

Loja’s holistic approach to the island, which includes “embracing” Bitcoin, has a low time preference.  

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