BlackPool Academy continues to grow it's community; with over 10,000 applications for scholarships the demand for Play-&-Earn gaming is still rising. We have recently launched new programs for the football-themed NFT games CyBall, Footium and Metasoccer, branching out from Axie to provide more games to our growing userbase. Game-Fi gaming is also reaching new corners of the globe, with emerging player bases in India, Turkey, Latin America and Central America.
This edition of the Community Newsletter takes a look at some of these developing crypto-ecosystems, and catches up with a few familiar faces.
El Salvador: Bitcoin here to stay
Back in September 2021, the Central American country became the first in the world to use Bitcoin cryptocurrency as legal tender. Hundreds of Bitcoin ATMs and 50 consulting centers were set up, along with an official, government-run digital wallet app called “Chivo” (“Super” in English). 6 months on, how has this affected the people of El Salvador? We spoke to Emmanuel Rivera, BlackPool’s first Salvadoran Axie Scholar from San Miguel, regarding the implementation and the public opinion of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in the country.
“The decision to use Bitcoin in this way was very divisive in El Salvador. Some of my friends were very excited, as the younger generation, they were bragging on social media about buying hamburgers and pizza with BTC, but a lot of the older generations in the general public don't have confidence for three perceived reasons. One, because it is a volatile currency. Two, Bitcoin lends itself to money laundering. Three, people are afraid we will become a narco-state.”
In the rustic beach town of El Zonte, famous for surfing, Bitcoin has really taken off. Nationally, tourism has increased 30 per cent thanks to the bitcoin bump, with many coming to see if their crypto-dream is coming true: Is a peer-to-peer digital token really replacing traditional money for the people of El Salvador?
Outside of the beach towns filled with crypto-curious foreigners and a few tech-savvy locals, no one wants to use it.
“If I go to the beach, I can see many tourists using BTC, and all the stalls and shops there have ‘we accept Bitcoin” signs posted, but in my hometown, I still swap my SLP earnings to US Dollars via Binance to spend it. It is too expensive to swap SLP to BTC, and easier right now just to use Dollars.”
The US Dollar is the legal currency of El Salvador since 2001, where it superseded the native Salvadoran Colón. It should be noted that the dollar is still the reference currency for prices, salaries and accounting records in the country; people just have the option of paying in BTC where it is accepted, which is generally large chain and tourist spots. Sadly, everyday transactions for locals, such as taking the bus, do not accept cryptocurrency.
“I’m glad the bus doesn’t take BTC to be honest - impossible to be waiting up to 15 minutes for the transaction to go through for every passenger!”
Still, the faithful believe that this is the start of something huge. One-in-five residents of El Salvador survive on less than $US5 per day. Emmanuel hopes that Play-and-Earn gaming could take off in his country as it has in Latin America and Asia, providing much needed income to make a difference in people’s lives.
“I really want more cryptocurrencies to be adopted. BTC is a nice start as it is famous, even to laymen, but coins with lower fees and faster transactions would be better. I see how SLP is used in the Philippines, and whilst Axie (and other P2E games) are not as big here yet, I know many people that want to use Game-Fi as a source of secondary income.”
With plans to build a geothermal volcano-powered “Bitcoin City” in the country, time will tell if this small Central American country is ahead of the curve, or if it's all a risky bet launched by a trendy president.
Gaming Community Feeding Program
The 8th Gaming Community Feeding Program was one of the biggest to date. It was funded by scholars' earnings from Game-Fi and donations from locals who wanted to help the children in the Philippines. The event was held at St Rosario, Brgy. Rizal, San Carlos City; a small town in the mountain area. The event was another astounding success, with 100 children receiving donations of food, (spaghetti and chickenjoy), juice, shoes, water tumblers, vitamins and 100 parents given relief packs of food supplies (rice, noodles, canned goods & coffee). The Gaming Community Feeding Program was successful because of the help and donations from Luna and TJ, friends of of Mr. Soup Man, and of course BlackPool. Apart from the funding, it was a very successful event due to the volunteers from BlackPool Academy donating their time to help run the program, both in planning, preparation and distribution on the day.
“It was a great honor to be part of a great organization. In this way, I could help so many children and I can put smiles on their faces. I never expected that I could organize this kind of event. It has been just a dream for me until it was all possible because of the help of BlackPool. From the beginning I was grateful to the leaders, for all the support they gave to me, to my wife Angelica(Aviel14) , to my friends and to the volunteers who are also a big part of the success. Thank You so much to all of you, I promise I wont stop helping these children. Thank You BlackPool Academy.” ~ Mr. Soup Man | BlackPool Academy
“I will always be with my husband, I will support him. Seeing him smiles and happy on helping the children. It makes me more inspired by his work and dedication to help them. Thank you Blackpool for the support you’ve given to us. We are so grateful and thankful.” -Aviel14 | BlackPool Academy
Venezuelan Scholars - Real Testimonials. Real People
Talamita | BlackPool Academy has been reaching out to some of the scholars in his community in Latin America, to see how earning cryptocurrency from Play & Earn gaming has benefited them.
"A cordial greeting to the BlackPool family, my son and I want to thank you for your help, thanks to the SLP I have been able to pay for my son's high school education since I am a mother and a father at the same time and it is very difficult for me to pay all the expenses, but ever since I got the scholarship, the use of the SLP has been and will be of great help. Thank you BlackPool Academy" ~ arnelyS | BlackPool Academy
"Thanks to the SLP and Blackpool I have helped myself a lot, I have improved my standard of living and that of my family, I help my mother who is an elderly person, I have been able to buy some things that were missing in my house, I really feel very grateful and happy for all that I have achieved." ~🦋Nezuko🦋 | Blackpool Academy
Typhoon Assistance: Rebuilding & Restoring
Many people suffered during Typhoon Odette in the Philippines, but arguably none more so than Mary Ann Sombise. Mary Ann has been through the most catastrophic situation; she suffered through tragic loss twice; with her home leveled a 2nd time by Typhoon Odette less than a month after her house was destroyed in a fire and the devastating loss of her two children. Mary Ann was one of the 31 victims who’ve been given financial assistance directly from BlackPool to help her rebuild her house and start a new life.
“My daily expenses have been reduced thanks to the assistance of the Blackpool Academy. I was devastated even more when we were hit by the Typhoon Odette. Because of Blackpool’s support and generosity, we were able to purchase materials to repair our house. We were traumatized by Hurricane Odette's sheer force, which destroyed homes and crops. When the roof of our house was torn off, we immediately evacuated to a nearby school seeking shelter." ~ Mary Ann | BlackPool Academy
"In the aftermath of two tragedies, we were at a loss on how to restart again because for the second time we had lost our house, electricity, and internet signal. Good thing the news got to Blackpool Academy and they immediately responded to the rescue. It quickly helped us by sending donations of SLP and AXS. As a result, I was extremely grateful, and I belonged to the Blackpool Academy which gave a lot of benefits in these dark times.” ~ Mary Ann | BlackPool Academy
Ezekiel, one of the scholars of BlackPool Academy shares his experience/story of being a BlackPool Academy scholar. He is also one of the recipients of financial assistance from BlackPool during the Typhoon Odette.
“Black Pool Academy has been a bridge for us to help other people and help our families. What we couldn't afford before we can now buy; our dreams that almost vaguely happen have been fulfilled because of the help of BlackPool. The things I have now are because of BlackPool Academy Typhoon Oddete devastated so many houses and at the same time the value of SLP dropped even more. That incident was very sad. We didn't know where we would start (to recover), until the BlackPool gave help to the victims of the Typhoon. I used all my SLP and the funds given by BlackPool to fix our damaged house. Thank you so much! Also to Sir Talamita and Mr. Soup Man for guiding me during that time; they are community heroes and helped me apply for relief. To all members of BlackPool thank you so much from the heart <3 And I hope you can help a lot more. I hope Black Pool Academy will be even stronger in the future. God will Bless you.” - Ezekiel | BlackPool Academy
Happy 1st Birthday Zamuel!
Zaldelyn used her scholarship earnings to pay for her son Zamuel's first birthday party; a very fun day with friends and family. They were able to host a large party for many children and give her son a very special day. Zaldelyn and her husband are grateful to have a 2nd source of income as scholars to be able to provide experiences like this for their son.
“Being a scholar at BlackPool Academy was a big opportunity for us. I was able to give a special 1st Birthday to my Son. Thank you so much BlackPool Academy and to all the Managers'' ~ Zaldelyn | BlackPool Academy
Zaldelyn has been a scholar with BlackPool for over a year; last year she purchased a motorbike with her SLP earnings playing Axie Infinity.
“This motorbike has been a big help for us daily. It gives us a chance to not rely on public transport anymore, and we can go wherever we need. It also serves a service for my husband to travel for work.” ~ Zaldelyn | BlackPool Academy
Super Mom Luz and Family Relief Giving!
Local Hero and Super Mom, Luz Cantero with her daughters Joyce and Kristy, and grandchildren Clouie and Tracy gave out relief goods to neighbors at New Sumakwel St., San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, Philippines. They gave a food parcels of essential goods to at least 90 neighbors. Despite the low value of SLP, they still consider to give a part of their earnings.
“No matter how big or small you give, it is still a blessing. Seeing my neighbours happy is a big achievement for us. I am happy that my family is with me on this kind of movement. I am blessed to be their Mom. Thank you BlackPool Academy for giving us the opportunity to help.” - Luz | BlackPool Academy
If you have any interesting stories that you would like to submit for inclusion in the next community newsletter, an article you’ve written, or you would like to know more about becoming a BlackPool Academy Scholar, head on over to our Discord. See you next time!