The impact of having a safe place to call home is hard to overstate.
New Story’s Chief of Staff Josh Young emphasized this at the Adopting Bitcoin Lightning Summit in El Salvador in November:
Once you don’t have to worry about where you have to sleep at night, it opens up the possibility to dream and gives you the opportunity to be who you are meant to be.
For decades, Salvadorans have struggled with inadequate housing. Natural disasters, exclusion from the traditional financial system and pervasive gang violence have held the country back from solving its housing deficit. An estimated 30% of the country’s population does not have adequate housing.
Fresh on the heels of La Ley Bitcoin (“The Bitcoin Law”), Salvadorans are focused on building a nation where people can dream, work, and fulfill their potential.
New Story, in partnership with Bitcoin Beach and Galoy, is breaking new ground by making homeownership affordable and accessible to families in El Zonte.
Why Home Ownership is So Far From Reach
An estimated 1.6 billion people around the world lack adequate housing – a problem New Story has been focused on solving since 2015.
New Story is a nonprofit that pioneers solutions to end global homelessness. They work within communities around the world to remove barriers to homeownership.
One issue keeping people from securing housing is the inability to build creditworthiness or secure housing loans.
The problem is many fold:
- Housing loans are almost non-existent in the poorest communities. When loans do happen to exist, predatory interest rates can trap low-income families into inescapable debt. For families making only enough money to cover daily living expenses, working towards homeownership can feel unattainable.
- It’s difficult to collect payments from unbanked homeowners. Lenders must spend considerable time and energy collecting payments from homeowners who don’t have the means to transact digitally. This drives up servicing costs and can make loans unaffordable.
- Manually tracking payments opens the door to errors. The process of collecting and tracking payments using pen/paper and manual data entry is slow, prone to human error, and lacks transparency.
With its new project in El Zonte, New Story identified Bitcoin and the Bitcoin Beach Wallet as tools that can solve some of the challenges related to providing loans to people in poorer and underbanked communities.
New Story Breaks Ground on 200 Homes in El Zonte
El Zonte is a small town on the Pacific Coast of El Salvador. It has become globally known by its other name – Bitcoin Beach – after a local project to create a circular Bitcoin economy inspired nation-state adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender.
New Story is in the process of building 200 affordable homes in El Zonte, where many families currently live in homes with tin roofs and dirt floors:
- Bitcoin donations fund initial construction. A donation of one bitcoin will fund multiple homes for families in need in El Zonte. Donations are 100% tax deductible, and transparency is provided to verify that donations are used for homebuilding.
- Philanthropy makes loans accessible. Families are provided 0% interest loans totaling the cost of construction. New Story works with each new homeowner to set an appropriate term length and monthly payment.
- Loan payments fund more construction. Money received for loan repayment is directed towards building additional houses, providing the gift of home to more families in need.
New Story has built affordable homes for almost a decade, but what they’re doing in El Zonte is different. For the first time, monthly mortgage payments will be made in Bitcoin, using the Bitcoin Beach Wallet.
Hear Josh discuss the project on a recent podcast appearance with Jimmy Song:
I talked to @Joshua_LC_Young about how @NewStoryCharity is using Bitcoin to solve some thorny problems with mortgages in El Salvador. Find out about how #Bitcoin changes the game for housing in El Salvador and El Zonte.https://t.co/lHJbylhzQp pic.twitter.com/rOC8AfTApl— Jimmy Song (송재준) (@jimmysong) February 3, 2022
Enabling Bitcoin Mortgage Payments Using Bitcoin Beach Wallet
“El futuro esta aqui” is the saying in El Zonte – “The future is here.”
Galoy has partnered with New Story to bring the future of mortgage payments to the residents of El Zonte.
Starting this month (February 2022), first-time homeowners moving into the newly-constructed homes will be able to make their monthly mortgage payment in less than 10 seconds using the Bitcoin Beach Wallet.
This simple payment mechanism using Bitcoin and Lightning could help billions of people around the world pay their mortgage – especially in underbanked communities like El Zonte. This is yet another example of how Lightning is becoming the easiest, fastest, and least expensive payment method on the planet.
Why Bitcoin For Mortgages?
Bitcoin mortgage payments could become commonplace in the near future. The value provided, especially in El Salvador, is more than meets the eye:
- Efficient payments: The cumbersome process of manually tracking cash payments typically required in unbanked communities is eliminated.
- Lower interest rates: Interest rates can be reduced due to operational efficiency, making the housing market work for millions more people.
- Attracting lenders: Managing longer-term loans will be easier and more attractive for lenders using this transparent and efficient payment process, increasing the attainability of homeownership in poorer parts of the world.
- Full transparency: The end-to-end process of raising money, building houses and collecting mortgage payments is fully transparent and auditable.
Enabling Bitcoin mortgage payments is one step on the path to a more inclusive and accessible world.
According to Galoy co-founder Chris Hunter:
We are witnessing the transformation of the global financial system. Galoy continues to deliver new Bitcoin banking solutions that are readily accessible to anybody with an Internet connection and a mobile phone.
El Zonte is once again showing the world what the future might look like on a Bitcoin Standard. The New Story project to build 200 homes – coupled with Bitcoin mortgage payments – is providing safe homes for those who need them most.