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Belgian MP’s Bitcoin Salary Experiment: 1 Year Recap

Christophe De Beukelaer became the first European politician to convert his fiat salary to Bitcoin. In Beukelaer’s words, it was a success.

In January 2022, Christophe De Beukalaer, a member of the Belgian parliament requested that his monthly salary of 5,500 euros ($6,140) was to be converted to Bitcoin via the European crypto exchange platform, bit4you.

In starting his experiment, Beukalaer, who represents the Humanist Democratic Centre (CDH) party, cited how American politicians like New York City Mayor Eric Adams are working towards  establishing their cities and states as crypto hubs – particularly for Bitcoin. 

“I did this political act of paying in Bitcoin to defend political ideas,” shared Beukelaer. In particular, Beukelaer was interested in five points: defending financial freedoms, creating economic opportunities, combating financial illiteracy, growth models, and environmental awareness. 

Calling himself a “pragmatic environmentalist,” Beukelaer emphasises the link between Bitcoin and the environment: “What does the central bank do when it prints money as it has done in recent years? It gives the illusion of infinite resources and thus encourages all economic actors to produce and consume more and more.”

The result? Beukelaer considers it a success – but in terms of education and awareness.

Not only did it put Belgium on the global crypto industry’s radar, it also sparked curiosity amongst local officials to learn more about digital assets.

But practically speaking, Beukelaer’s experiment didn’t carry much positive personal economic impact.

Within a year, BTC’s price went through massive drops. Not to mention, BTC declined from January 2022’s price of $38,000 to today’s price of $17,202 (at the time of writing). However, Beukalaer notes that his BTC experiment wasn’t that of an economic strategy to begin with.

“It was a political act and not a financial gesture. Like those who grow moustaches in November to fight prostate cancer. I put this salary in Bitcoin on a cold wallet every month and I haven’t touched it. My goal was not to live in crypto,” says Beukelaer.

Meanwhile, crypto regulation in Europe is seeing steady progress,with the region-wide Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation (MiCA) legislation due to come into force in 2024. However, Beukelaer views that the legislation is on the conservative side – with many constraints imposed on personal holdings of crypto, and how stablecoins are to operate and function.

In launching MiCA, the European Commission intended to facilitate competition and innovation in the financial sector in the EU, and to mark Europe as a standard-setter at the international level. MiCA also intends to promote new digital finance technologies, consumer protection, and digital payments technologies.

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