After the embarrassing and heartbreaking debacle last week that occurred in Afghanistan following the heightened incompetence of Joe Biden, news is spreading of the growing presence bitcoin has in the country. Many banks and standard financial institutions have either been shut down or are not presently in working order, and thus several residents are seeking out the aid of BTC and digital assets as a means of surviving.
Bitcoin’s Presence Is Growing in Afghanistan
One example comes in the form of Farhan Hotak, a 22-year-old resident of Afghanistan who boasts a solid account with popular cryptocurrency exchange Binance. After getting his family out of the country and moving them into Pakistan, he returned to Kabul – the capital of Afghanistan – to protect his family home from any invading enemies.
Right now, he says he would be lost without his Binance stash given that there are so many bank outages all over the country, meaning withdrawing or doing anything with cash is virtually impossible at this time. He commented in an interview:
In Afghanistan, we don’t have platforms like PayPal, Venmo or Zelle, so I have to depend on other things… I have very, very, very limited resources to do anything. I’m interested in the crypto world, because I have earned a lot, and I see a lot of potential in myself that I can go further.
Following last week’s takeover by the Taliban, Afghanistan is suffering from a nationwide cash shortage. In addition, all borders have been closed, the national currency is sinking into oblivion, and inflation is at an all-time high (just like in the U.S.) After running out of physical money to hand out, several banks had no choice but to shut their doors, and it is unclear if these institutions will be capable of reopening in the immediate future.
Since then, several crowds have gathered outside the doors of these banks, desperate to get their money out. A Kabul-based journalist named Ali Latifi monitored the chaos outside the banks, explaining in a recent report:
There’s no bank I can go to right now, no ATM. I live above two banks and three ATM machines, but they’ve been off since Thursday.
A Nationwide Cash Shortag
What’s even worse is that not even cross-border or remittance payments are available during this period. Western Union and similar firms have halted all services, meaning that individuals in Afghanistan cannot send money to their relatives outside the country, nor can their relatives send money to them.
One man named Musa Ramin has taken the next big step of converting all his money into digital currencies, claiming that virtual assets are arguably the safest havens against what’s going on right now. Despite their volatility, he says that holding any physical cash right now is only going to lead to problems given how much fiat currency has crashed.