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Several flags of Suriname next to each other in an office.
Nov 28, 2023

Suriname President Chan Santokhi meets with JAN3 team to advance national Bitcoin strategy

As Suriname strives to change its economic model, government officials invited JAN3 and its CEO, Samson Mow, to learn more about Bitcoin, with President Chan Santokhi and his administration now looking into a comprehensive Bitcoin Strategy that includes the country’s financial and energy sectors.

Interest in Bitcoin among Suriname public officials was first pushed by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Albert Ramdin, after becoming familiar with the many upsides its adoption brought to El Salvador, and thus feeling intrigued by what role Bitcoin could play in modernizing his homeland.

Before they met with President Santokhi, Samson, along with JAN3’s Chief Operating Officer, Ben Van Hool, spent a few days getting to know people from Suriname’s business, banking, and payments services sectors, entrepreneurs, and even representatives from the banking commission itself. Like in most countries, those from the finance industry were somewhat familiar with Bitcoin before getting to know Samson and Ben, whose pitch for JAN3 led to some promising connections.

Despite being familiar with Suriname’s ongoing economic crisis, Samson and Ben took the opportunity also to meet Central Bank Deputy Governor, Rakesh Adhin and his team, to learn more about the high inflation rate and debt problems that have affected the economy in recent years. These two issues were partly why JAN3 took an interest in Suriname, as we believe Bitcoin can help the country start detaching itself from the financial system that fostered such a crisis.

JAN3's Samson Mow and Ben Van Hool with Suriname President Chan Santokhi and local entrepreneur Maya Parbhoe.

Talks with President Santokhi were held on a Tuesday morning at the Office of the President, with most of the conversation revolving around energy, monetary policy, and Suriname’s legal framework. However, the group also discussed how Bitcoin mining operations can be deployed in remote Surinamese villages to help these towns and settlements become self-sustainable.

The meeting concluded with President Santokhi asking JAN3 to send a proposal outlining the necessary steps to implement a Bitcoin strategy for Suriname, as his goal is for the country to jump ahead in fields traditionally not associated with the country, such as finance and technology. Naturally, the president wants to improve the lives of his people, and Bitcoin’s ability to store wealth for the future and its potential for financial inclusion bodes well for South America’s smallest country. 

Samson and Ben see Suriname’s relative size as an advantage, as both have satiated in the past that it’s the smallest country that will eventually face the least concerns when it comes to Bitcoin adoption, especially when compared to the benefits that new Bitcoin policies could have in drawing investment to Suriname in parallel with new oil projects that are also starting to surface.

JAN3 and the government of Suriname agreed to continue discussing further steps the country can take to make use of its natural resources in a wider Bitcoin strategy, as well as what policies might suit the needs of the country better. Samson and Ben departed Suriname positively surprised about how welcoming the country is for business, as proven by the numerous oil investments and, potentially, many Bitcoin investments as well in the future.