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Nov 29, 2023

Colombia President Gustavo Petro welcomes JAN3 CEO Samson Mow to address Bitcoin’s potential in the country

During his trip to Bogotá, as an invited speaker at the Colombia 4.0 conference, JAN3 CEO Samson Mow led a delegation of Bitcoiners welcomed by President Gustavo Petro to pitch their ideas on how Bitcoin can help Colombia leverage its natural resources and continue to reassert itself as one of the leading economies in Latin America.

Samson was joined on the trip by other JAN3 team members, namely Edwin Rivas and Raúl Velásquez, who also accompanied him in his visit to Casa de Nariño, alongside local Mauricio Tovar and Diego Gutiérrez Zaldívar from Argentina. There, the delegation offered their takes on which areas Colombia should focus on to kickstart potential Bitcoin projects, with the reduction of flare gas emissions through Bitcoin mining being named by Samson as one of the most immediate priorities.

President Petro showed himself quite open to hear the Bitcoin delegation’s proposals throughout the entire hour-long meeting, albeit being quite keen to learn how marginalized communities gain access to Bitcoin. While the entire party reassured the president that Bitcoin is an egalitarian technology, it was Samson’s comments on how billionaires and people in remote villages are treated the same by Bitcoin’s financial system that really struck a chord with Petro.

The JAN3 team also shared their own anecdotes of how they have been approached by communities from La Guajira and its vicinities that were already interested in exploiting the region’s energy potential, with the indigenous tribes that inhabit the areas instantly benefiting from any mining operation put in place. It’s precisely in areas like La Guajira, where Bitcoin’s ability to monetize excess power can help fund what would otherwise be unprofitable renewable energy projects.

JAN3 CEO Samson Mow poses for photo with Colombia president Gustavo Petro.

Before departing for a presidential trip on that same afternoon, Petro was happy to take some pictures with the entire delegation and, surprisingly, he also recorded a small video that has since gone viral where he labels Bitcoin as “promising for the prosperity of the people.” In that same statement, Petro expressed his eagerness to see the likes of Mow, Tovar, and Gutierrez assist newly formed working groups explore how worker cooperatives and other grassroots communities in Colombia can start using Bitcoin.

Although President Petro is a staunch left-wing leader in Latin America, and despite Bitcoin typically finding more reception towards the right on the political spectrum, reactions to Petro’s interest in Bitcoin on behalf of the Colombian government were mostly positive. Combined with JAN3's recent visit to Suriname, this ratifies the notion that Bitcoin is completely open and neutral money that can truly be used by anyone.

Two days after his encounter with the president, Samson gave his keynote speech at Colombia 4.0 conference, an event hosted the Ministry of Technology and Communications, where he expanded upon many of the same points discussed with President Petro, with his talk mostly focusing on the history of money and Bitcoin’s transformative power in an ever-changing economic environment due to rising debt levels.

The JAN3 team and the rest of the delegation left Colombia with the goal of now presenting Gustavo Petro and all relevant parties with a proposal to start mining operations using flared gas, as well as contacting potential communities or cooperatives eager to follow up on the President's intentions.