Why Did Bitcoin City’s First Citizen Leave El Salvador? A 2-Year Waiting Game

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In November 2021, President Nayib Bukele of El Salvador unveiled an ambitious plan for Bitcoin City, a geothermally powered metropolis funded by unissued volcano bonds. The project aimed to create a Bitcoin-led municipality that would attract crypto enthusiasts from around the world.

Among the first to embrace this vision was Corbin Keegan, a US citizen who proclaimed himself the first resident of Bitcoin City. Keegan traveled from Chicago with high hopes, eager to witness the transformation of El Salvador into a Bitcoin haven.

The Long Wait and Departure

Despite the grand announcement, progress on Bitcoin City has been slow. For over two years, Keegan waited in El Salvador, living in a self-built cottage near the proposed construction site in La Union. Local reports indicate that Keegan, a dedicated Bitcoiner from El Monte, was among the few who remained optimistic about the project’s future. However, the lack of tangible progress led him to temporarily return to the United States.

In a recent interview, Keegan expressed his disappointment but remained hopeful, stating, “I still believe in the vision of Bitcoin City. I’ll be back when there’s concrete progress.”

Current Status of Bitcoin City

The development of Bitcoin City has seen minimal updates since its initial announcement. In January 2022, President Bukele mentioned that El Salvador was acquiring geothermal energy to power the city. However, by April 2023, a document from the Public Works Ministry revealed that Bitcoin City was still in the informal planning stage, with no official project filed.

The anticipated volcano bonds, crucial for funding the city’s construction, received regulatory approval but have yet to be issued. The government aims to release these bonds in the first quarter of 2024, a step that many believe will kickstart the long-delayed project.

Future Prospects and Community Response

While the delay has led to skepticism, the crypto community remains watchful. Maria Antonio, Keegan’s landlady in El Salvador, confirmed that he plans to return in December to continue waiting for Bitcoin City’s development. “He’s not giving up. He’s invested in this vision and believes it will come to fruition,” she said.


Bitcoin City’s journey from a bold announcement to a delayed reality highlights the challenges of pioneering large-scale, cryptocurrency-driven projects. As the world watches, the future of Bitcoin City remains uncertain, but the unwavering commitment of its early supporters like Corbin Keegan underscores the enduring allure of a Bitcoin-led utopia.


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