Bitcoin City Airport Construction Begins in El Salvador Amid Controversy

El Salvador's Ambitious Bitcoin-Backed Projects Move Forward, Sparking Environmental and Ownership Concerns

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After receiving the necessary permits, the works of the Pacific Airport in El Salvador, also known as Bitcoin City Airport, began to be executed. Heavy machinery is removing earth where the air terminal is supposed to operate.

For the start of the project, the Autonomous Port Executive Commission (CEPA) allocated some USD 73 million, according to official statements published in local media.

It is expected that this amount will allow the development of the “beta phase”, which will be in operation for two years. The total cost of the airport is estimated at USD 350 million.

The works for the construction of the Pacific Airport began a few weeks ago, as reflected by the youtuber Albert Sanchez in his channel. Through aerial views, he showed how the project, announced by President Nayib Bukele at the end of 2021 after granting legal tender status to bitcoin (BTC), is being carried out.

Several videos posted on social networks show several tractors and bulldozers belonging to the Ministry of Public Works working over the town of Flor de Mangle, in the department of La Unión, in eastern El Salvador, where the airport will be built.

Construction of the Pacific Airport began shortly after El Salvador received the environmental permits necessary to build the complex. The authorization was received by CEPA.

Likewise, construction work began after it was confirmed that plans for Bitcoin City are still on track, even though they have not been made official by the government of El Salvador.

The construction of the Pacific Airport has brought criticism from the community. Some organizations have questioned the project due to the alleged environmental damage involved in the work.

They also criticize that, so far, CEPA “has not paid the majority of the owners the price negotiated for the plots that will absorb the construction,” according to members of the project called MalaYerba.

However, the Commission said a few days ago that at least 52 families living in the area designated for the Bitcoin City Airport construction were being relocated.

Airport and Bitcoin City are sister projects

The Pacific Airport and the Bitcoin City of El Salvador are projects promoted by Bukele. In fact, both initiatives were presented at the same time and the design was in charge of Mexican architect Fernando Romero, who was awarded for his work with the bitcoin city.

The construction of the Bitcoin City would also be financed by the so-called “Volcán bonds”, with which the government expects to raise USD 1 billion. The legal framework that will allow the issuance of such bonds was recently approved and the cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex will be in charge of their production and distribution.

With the construction of the Bitcoin City, Bukele’s government wants to promote the adoption of bitcoin, highlight the country through this ecosystem and attract foreign investment.

In fact, it would be an almost tax-free city and its power supply would be through geothermal energy. Bitcoin mining farms would be installed in the city that would work pollutant-free energy. It was said that the city would start construction in 2022.

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