Bringing Ethereum to Guatemala with Marcus AM


As an active contributor to the ENS DAO, I am always on the look out for projects of intrigue which have a particular interest in supporting the growth of the Ethereum ecosystem outside of conventional geography — ie. the anglosphere. Ethereum has yet a centralization problem. According to Nodewatch, over 80% of operating nodes are located in the US and Europe alone. Meanwhile, in South America, the population has embraced the use of cryptocurrencies; perhaps more than any other continent in the world.

I had a brief chat with Marcus AM (on Bitcoin Pizza Day, no less!) about Ethereum Guatemala, a vibrant community of builders who are focused on promoting growth through various initiatives such as hosting events, onboarding students, showcasing local art, developing DeFi projects, hosting hackathons, and exploring blockchain use to foster innovation and diversity in the global Ethereum ecosystem.

Marcus has been participating in the ENS DAO Public Goods calls, where we learned more about him and the contributions the Ethereum Guatemala community is bringing to the ecosystem. Most recently, Ethereum Guatemala was awarded a 10k USDC grant as part of the Public Goods working group Large Grants initiative. Not to mention, the Ethereum Guatemala community brought the first Node to the country. Historic, indeed.

Driving Decentralization via Public Goods Funding

Culture catalysts play a critical role in driving global mass adoption — successful efforts will focus on a culture-first approach; the Ethereum community is self-aware, and actively seeks ways in which to drive decentralization via localized efforts, such as the Ethereum Guatemala community.

The ENS DAO plays its part and recognizes emerging communities who are proactively contributing to education on public goods infrastructure and how it can enable more regenerative economies; whereby value is redistributed directly to the communities who provide relevant work.

During our conversation, Marcus spoke on his background, how he became involved in the ENS DAO’s Public Goods initiatives, and what the Ethereum Guatemala community has got planned for the future of Ethereum in the region. Marcus also shared his favorite pizza topping, which might surprise you — it’s not pineapple. Let’s dive in.

Marcus’ Odisea

Honestly, I was super impressed by Marcus’ repertoire. A true aficionado of decentralized futures, Marcus has been involved with all things crypto since at least 2013 when he was first introduced to Bitcoin; he then realized the opportunity to create democratized access to global financial systems.

Growing up in Guatemala, a country plagued by corruption, exploitation, and inequality, Marcus found Bitcoin’s value proposition fascinating. The concept challenged the idea of relying on a single centralized authority for truth and power, instead aiming to democratize access to a more equitable future. Since then, his involvement in the ecosystem has been weaving his other interests and passions, including exploring climate change, academia, finance, venture capital, and the arts.

About a year ago, he joined the Ethereum Foundation’s Fellowship program, embarking on a journey to explore the potential of crypto in LatAm. Engaging in various projects, he dedicated his efforts to researching, writing, and working on several initiatives. One notable achievement was the completion of a 50-page report titled “Last Mile DeFi,” complemented by a podcast series available in both Spanish and English.

His research shed light on the crucial role of local Ethereum communities in facilitating widespread adoption and fostering the growth of the developer ecosystem. Motivated by this realization, Marcus and a handful of dedicated regens took the initiative to work towards supporting a local community in Guatemala.

Ethereum Guatemala

Ethereum plays a fundamental role in developing innovative solutions that can improve people’s quality of life and promote the growth of the country. In Guatemala, Ethereum offers a unique opportunity to the local population that empowers them to recreate their socioeconomic systems in order to create a more just society.

Ethereum Guatemala has proposed to unite the community of creators and educators with the most active crypto communities in the world, with the aim of promoting the use of Ethereum protocols and technology to solve specific problems and improve the daily lives of people in Guatemala. Thanks to Ethereum, it is possible to promote the development of innovative solutions that can transform the way people interact and relate to each other.

The community has received sponsorship from various orgs such as the Ethereum Ecosystem Support Program NounsDAO Amigos, Filecoin, Osmo, Pizza DAO, and Rug Radio. The Ethereum Guatemala community consists of over 200 dedicated individuals actively contributing to the community. A primary focus of their efforts is education, evident through their organization of boot camps, hackathons, and educational events. One notable project they are undertaking involves the introduction of Blockchain, Governance, and Economics to a program available to thousands of children throughout Guatemala.

With the support of the ENS DAO, they successfully organized their inaugural event, capturing the experience through a YouTube video. Encouraged by the positive response, they continued their efforts by hosting a second event, ensuring its documentation through video recordings.

Building on their progress, they extended their reach to El Salvador, where they actively contributed to kickstarting the local Ethereum community, embracing the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience.

Public Goods in ENS DAO

The purpose of the ENS DAO Public Goods working group is in identifying and supporting Ethereum based and ENS-adjacent projects that help to develop the ecosystem, support its builders and improves trust and safety in our nascent space. These are ‘positive externalities’ that reflect positively on ENS and make it easier to onboard new users and build relationships with integration partners. Delegates and stewards are both actively involved in the curation of these projects as is the case with Ethereum Guatemala.

Marcus learned about the ENS DAO’s initiative thanks to coltron.eth’s suggestion to attend a weekly Working Group call in order to present Ethereum Guatemala to the stewards. Realizing the potential positive impact of their project as a public good in Guatemala, Marcus and their team decided to submit an application. Their primary objective is to drive local adoption by engaging with Ethereum communities. They firmly believe that investing in this region will yield the highest return on investment in terms of expanding Ethereum’s global adoption.

Putting the Grant to Work

With their budget of $10,000, the Ethereum Guatemala community has planned some amazing IRL activations that are sure to attract more and more people into their community. One of the events is a Solidity boot camp, and a portion of the funds will be used to pay the staff involved in organizing it. Another expense will be setting up the first Ethereum node in Guatemala. Additionally, a portion of the budget will support a hackathon and enable local builders from Latin America and Honduras to participate. The remaining funds will be allocated for covering operational costs and preparing for an event in 2024.

To put their acquired skills and knowledge from the Ethereum bootcamp to the test, the Ethereum Guatemala community is organizing a hackathon at the conclusion of the two-month long bootcamp. The hackathon aims to foster collaboration among bootcamp participants and community members, encouraging them to create innovative blockchain solutions that can benefit local communities and beyond. With the guidance of experienced mentors, participants will be able to apply their newly acquired skills and knowledge to real-world problems.

Additionally, the hackathon will facilitate networking opportunities for participants to connect with like-minded individuals, potentially leading to new partnerships and collaborations. The hackathon serves not only as the culmination of the bootcamp but also as a stepping stone for participants to advance their journey in the realm of blockchain and Ethereum development.

Advice to Future Grantees

Marcus and the Ethereum Guatemala team have certainly raised the standards when it comes to submissions to the ENS Grants initiative; their leadership and execution style have set an example for aspiring builders and incoming grantees alike. With that said, Marcus offered us a couple of tips when considering to apply for an ENS DAO Public Goods grant:

  1. Regularly attend Working Group calls and introduce yourself and your project

  2. Quantifiably demonstrate the impact that you’ve already made across the ecosystem

  3. Know your audience and how to serve them

  4. Build a community around the work you are doing

  5. Advocate for yourself and actively promote your name to gain visibility


The Ethereum Guatemala community is actively promoting Ethereum’s growth and adoption in the region. Led by Marcus and their team, they organize educational programs, hackathons, and community-building activities. With over 200 contributors, their achievements include the first Ethereum node in Guatemala and fostering collaboration in neighboring countries. The $10,000 grant from ENS DAO validates their work as a public good and sets a high standard for future grantees. To learn more about ENS DAO’s Public Goods grants opportunities, join the weekly working group call on Thursdays at 1PM Eastern Time.



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