Ariel Aguilar’s Bitcoin promotion tour across Europe in the Bitcoin-themed van, La Bitcoineta, has been filled with adventure and encounters. From friendly interactions with strangers to unexpected midnight encounters with law enforcement agencies, Aguilar shares the highlights and challenges of his journey.

Driving Bitcoin Adoption Across Europe in La Bitcoineta

Aguilar, an Argentine Bitcoin enthusiast, has embarked on a remarkable journey, driving La Bitcoineta across nearly a dozen European countries. His goal is to promote Bitcoin adoption and educate people about its benefits. During an interview with Cointelegraph journalist Joe Hall at Plan B Summer School, Aguilar recounts the exciting moments and obstacles encountered along the way.

As La Bitcoineta made its way from Serbia to Lugano, Aguilar faced a critical border transition between Bosnia and Croatia. To avoid potential delays and traffic, Aguilar strategically chose to cross the border at midnight. However, this decision caught the attention of border and customs officials, leading to an unexpected encounter.

An image of La Bitcoineta at the Plan B summer school situated in Lugano

Suspicion, Searches and Positive Encounters Along the Way

Shortly after the initial check at the border, an unmarked vehicle with five officials in civilian attire pulled over La Bitcoineta. Identifying themselves as the police, they requested to search the van. Aguilar recalls their suspicion, suggesting they may have mistaken the Bitcoin-themed van for a vehicle involved in smuggling activities.

However, Aguilar said he cooperated with the officials, understanding their duty to ensure border security.

Despite the occasional challenges, La Bitcoineta receives an overwhelmingly positive response from the public. In Switzerland, passersby express their support with thumbs-up gestures as they witness the van cruising by. Surprisingly, in crypto-friendly jurisdictions like Spain and Portugal, the presence of the van goes unnoticed.

During the search, one of the officials stumbled upon a copy of The Bitcoin Standard, a book authored by Saifedean Ammous, a prominent Bitcoin proponent and economist. Aguilar hesitated to offer the book as a gift, fearing it could be misinterpreted as a bribe. Ultimately, he decided against it, avoiding any potential misunderstandings.

He said:

“I didn’t know if he wanted it, but just in case it was seen as a bribe, I did not give it as a gift.”

The European Expedition Continues

A map of Europe for La Bitcoineta's expedition

La Bitcoineta’s extensive journey covers Spain, Gibraltar, Portugal, Andorra, Switzerland, Munich, Prague, Oslo, Romania, Serbia, and Lugano. Aguilar plans to continue his tour, venturing into Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, and Macedonia. Additionally, a trip to the United Kingdom is scheduled for September, followed by visits to Madrid, Amsterdam, Luana, and the final destination in Lugano.

Looking ahead, Aguilar envisions longer trips to different countries, aiming to gauge the level of Bitcoin adoption in each region. For instance, he proposes interviewing Bitcoiners in countries like Germany and France to ensure their commitment to Bitcoin. This expansion would involve local Bitcoin advocates participating in La Bitcoineta talks and presentations.

Memorable Moments and Influential Signatures

La Bitcoineta has not only attracted attention from Bitcoin enthusiasts but has also become a part of Bitcoin history. Notably, a photo of Aguilar giving a tour of the van to Michael Saylor, the CEO of MicroStrategy, went viral as a meme.

Additionally, the van proudly displays signatures from influential figures in the Bitcoin community, including Adam Back, Saifedean Ammous, Prince Philip of Serbia, Jack Mallers, Elizabeth Stark, and other renowned “OG Bitcoiners.”

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