New Story and Google Collaboration Gives Families Access to the Digital Economy

Innovative collaboration is helping us use the blockchain and the Lightning Network to empower 130 vulnerable families in El Salvador to become homeowners. One of those generous collaborators is Google.

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Bitcoin Beach in El Zonte, El Salvador, is home of the world’s first community where families are paying their mortgages on the blockchain. Families used to spend hours of their weeks traveling to make cash payments in person. Now, they can walk out of their homes and exchange their hard-earned cash for bitcoin. Since bitcoin is a legal tender in El Salvador, families can use it to pay for everything — from their haircuts to their homes.

How Google is Creating Digital Transformation

Google is supporting the project in El Salvador by providing families and New Story with financial reporting. One of Google's company-wide initiatives is to give Googlers the freedom to contribute to nonprofit projects. Two Googlers chose to commit their time to New Story and our work in El Zonte, El Salvador.

The Googlers are creating greater financial literacy at Bitcoin Beach by keeping families informed on their home payments and progress. Families can receive nearly instant communications via email and texting, increasing transparency in a country with a history of bank distrust.

Families are also required to attend educational workshops hosted in partnership as they prepare to pay for their homes on the blockchain. The training ensures families have the tools and skills necessary for success when paying for their homes.

We’re proud to collaborate with Google on a first-of-its-kind project that’s making housing more accessible for vulnerable families. And we’re hopeful this is just the beginning of a collaboration that can help change the affordable housing sector for good.


About 70% of the population in El Salvador is unbanked and restricted from obtaining a loan and owning a home. They work hard and save money, but they distrust banks due to a history of corruption, and the costs of traditional banking outweigh the benefits. It’s common for families in the informal economy to only have access to interest rates as high as 100% and travel hours to use banking services. 

While most Salvadorans don’t have a relationship with a bank, they do have mobile phones, modest jobs, and dreams of owning a home. Through Bitcoin wallets, families are making mortgage payments in seconds to build creditworthiness and homeownership. 

We’re proud to partner with Google to bring digital inclusivity to a people group historically excluded from market innovations. It’s only the beginning of an impact-driven collaboration.