Bitcoin Smiles is a program launched by BTCPay Server, Bitcoin Design, and Diente Zonte to use bitcoin to bring smiles to the people of El Salvador by giving free dental care to the needy. El Salvador is the first country in the world to make bitcoin legal tender.
Enrique Berrios, a local dentist from El Zonte, and Pavlenex, a contributor to open-source Bitcoin projects, launched the idea in August 2021 as a crowdfunding campaign. The pair, who had never met in person, became friends on Twitter.
Like most of great things, the idea for Bitcoin Smiles was born by accident. One day while discussing the adoption of Bitcoin in El Salvador, Enrique and Pavlenex decided to try to do something and help the people who lacked access to dental care.
Quickly, a distributed team of Bitcoin contributors was formed (Zaxounette, Patricia & Alexa Aker) and in just a few weeks the campaign was launched successfully. Initially, the crowdfunding goal was to raise 1 BTC and provide critical dental treatments and reconstructions free of charge. Generous Bitcoin community and companies helped blast through the fundraising goal in a matter of days.
The initiative has so far raised 1.94608164 BTC from over 1,000 contributors. The funds will be used to offer free checkups, dentures, cover all costs related to critical dental care.
The dental clinic is a 6 x 4 room in a ranch in the middle of a tropical jungle. It has all the basics including the dental chair, lamp, x-rays, suction, and fiber-optic internet connection in the area. The clinic intends to transition from traditional dentistry practice to a digital dental practice in order to work from remote locations and become own dental laboratory supported by other specialists and digitally on the cloud, designing and manufacturing own 3D dental prosthesis.