"With bitcoin, El Salvador has the potential to be the Singapore of the Americas."

Key facts


  • For José Luis Guillén, CEO of Coincaex, the country’s economic transformation is already underway.

  • The Central American nation now has the challenge of educating the population about cryptocurrencies.

“The adoption of bitcoin (BTC) in Central America is in its infancy, but it will soon make a quantum leap,” so says José Luis Guillén, CEO of Coincaex, the first exchange to arrive in El Salvador. This country, from September 7 will recognize the cryptocurrency as legal tender.

“Geographically we were in the right place, in the right business and at the right time,” said the Guatemalan entrepreneur about the moment when the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador approved the Bitcoin Law

on June 9. As soon as it happened he made the decision for the company he runs to move its operations center to the nation that was adjusting its legal framework to boost the adoption of the cryptocurrency.

Now, two months after arriving in El Salvador, he visualizes the country as the financial center of the American continent. In fact, he associates it with Singapore, which went from being a poor island to one of the richest countries in the world. The difference lies in the fact that the first one boosted its economic growth centered on the dollar, more than half a century ago, while the other is now doing it based on bitcoin


With just days to go before the law goes into effect in El Salvador, the first stage of development of its economic transformation is already underway, as Guillen pointed out during an exclusive interview with CryptoNews. “More than 150 new companies are moving capital into the country, many have already opened office or are in plans to start some kind of operations,” he adds.

Among the reasons that explain what El Salvador’s Bitcoin Law represents for the industry in the region, Guillén exposes the need that all startups

have for a fair regulation that incentivizes the market.

El Salvador forces banks to open accounts for us and serve us [service operators]. That’s super encouraging because it turns out that in Guatemala we have to play cat and mouse with the banks. And when we tell them that we operate with digital assets, they close the doors on us, even when they have no legal argument to back them up. But being a private company, they can decide not to do business with us if they don’t like it.

José Luis Guillén, co-founder of the Coincaex exchange. "With bitcoin, El Salvador has the potential to be the Singapore of the Americas." "With bitcoin, El Salvador has the potential to be the Singapore of the Americas." Coincaex exchange CEO José Luis Guillén believes that El Salvador set its economic transformation in motion from the very beginning.nt when it passed the Bitcoin Act. Source: Screenshot.

Educating about bitcoin: the big challenge for El Salvador

El Salvador has attracted the world’s attention since President Nayib Bukele first announced that bitcoin would become legal tender. However, there are some challenges that lie ahead for the nation to make the quantum leap that would make it the financial hub of the continent.

Reflecting on these challenges Guillen points out that the key to bitcoin adoption gaining momentum in El Salvador is education. He comments that there is so much misinformation spread that the population is afraid to use the cryptocurrency.

That is why he hopes that soon the organization he presides, the Central American Association of Cryptocurrency Users (ACUCRIP), will coordinate educational activities about bitcoin in El Salvador as it has done so far in Guatemala, Honduras and Costa Rica.

He believes that education is essential for people to understand that bitcoin is a reserve value asset and not for quick profits. He adds that, with greater awareness in the population about how the protocol works, the adoption will take momentum in a more organic way and will not only depend on the price increase, as is currently the case.

I think it’s great that bitcoin will be incorporated into the education system in El Salvador, but not just as a disruptive technology, but as the evolution of a system that has its roots in 10,000 years of history. I also believe that economics schools in our countries should be more sincere about the history of money because academia is focused on a central banking model that no longer works. We have already seen that inflation is the tax that hits the most vulnerable people the hardest, so I think they need to focus on studying these new models of digital scarcity.

José Luis Guillén, CEO of Coincaex. "With bitcoin, El Salvador has the potential to be the Singapore of the Americas." "With bitcoin, El Salvador has the potential to be the Singapore of the Americas." Guillén frequently participates in educational activities about bitcoin in which he talks about the evolution of money. Source: Instagram/Coincaex.

From Guatemala with bitcoin payment gateway for El Salvador

The cryptocurrency exchange Coincaex is about to open its headquarters in El Salvador, and from there it will offer its services to the countries of Central America and the Caribbean


The company with more than 4 years operating in Guatemala, offers bitcoin, ether (ETH), ERC-20 tokens and stablecoins

trading service. “We are also introducing to the market a payment processor for companies that is specifically designed for El Salvador,” says Guillén.

His proposal consists of providing technology to third parties through an API (application programming interface) that makes it possible for large companies to receive payments in bitcoin with protection against possible episodes of volatility.

To achieve this, Guillén mentions the support that the startup receives from different exchanges

of liquidity with cryptocurrencies, stablecoins and fiat money

that allows them stability, minimizing risks.

At the moment we are in the testing phase. Our API connects with the companies’ points of sale and basically what we give them is a button that allows them to cash out in bitcoin. To do this they don’t have to acquire new hardware, they just have to press a button and that already offers them a new form of payment, through our platform, with a daily compensation according to what they are collecting in cryptos.

José Luis Guillén, CEO of Coincaex. "With bitcoin, El Salvador has the potential to be the Singapore of the Americas." "With bitcoin, El Salvador has the potential to be the Singapore of the Americas." Coincaex CEO grabbed media attention by becoming the first exchange to arrive in El Salvador. Source: Instagram Coincaex.

He assures that his service takes advantage of the government’s Chivo Wallet

because it is already proven technology in real businesses. It is also integrable with payment systems that companies already have. From his point of view, it is a system that no one is offering in El Salvador.

Imagine a large store that has any number of cash registers, how will they manage and control all the payments they make? Are they going to install a phone with Chivo Wallet in each cashier? That is precisely where we enter with our technology to provide this service to private enterprise.

José Luis Guillén, CEO of Coincaex.

In any case, Guillén is confident that his service will soon gain new allies now that the adoption of bitcoin will gain new momentum, “not by taste, but by necessity”, as he commented.

I think bitcoin adoption is going to come from the private sector and even more so now that the biggest bubble of all is about to burst. I’m talking about the dollar bubble. When it happens, what history tells us is that in times of hyperinflation and economic crisis, people and companies will look for ways to safeguard their reserves. That’s why I think the adoption is going to come from the private sector and we are already seeing it, because there are many companies in Guatemala interested in our payment processing service because they don’t want to be left behind in this technological leap.

José Luis Guillén, CEO of Coincaex.

Meanwhile, El Salvador is conditioning its infrastructure and preparing to comply with international regulations as the Bitcoin Law is about to come into force. In addition, as reported by this digital newspaper, President Nayib Bukele already has a draft ready for the new National Constitution of that country.

The new constitution would establish digital currencies as constitutional, which would endorse the use of “non-physical, non-concrete currencies”, although it is not yet known which will be the ones that will be used in the future.

that article of the law.