In the midst of heightened political tension and an economy gripped by international sanctions, Venezuelans turn to Bitcoin for some sort of comfort.
Bitcoin in a Politically-Divided Country
Peer-to-peer electronic currency trading platform LocalBitcoins has reported that more than $15 million in Bolivar to BTC trades have been processed in the span of only a week. Data provided by CoinDance have validated these figures.
Venezuela as we speak is at the mercy of the United States government’s rigid international economic policy that has placed the Latin American country under a tight leash of sorts due a series of human rights violations and widespread corruption committed by the administration of President Nicolas Maduro and his political minions.
An outspoken bitcoin advocate, the country’s self-proclaimed interim leader Juan Guaido has publicly lobbied against Maduro’s digital currency, the petro.
Maduro’s inner circles have attempted to promote the petro’s adoption by forcing some government-issued payments, like pensions, to be processed in petro, only to be shunned by some sectors.
Fanning interest on Crypto
Guaido has the backing of many leaders across the European Union and the United States and seems unlikely to need a state virtual currency to hurdle the sanctions, which are set to be lifted if he wrests power over Maduro.
Guaido has also made great efforts to fan interest in the adaptation of bitcoin. In fact, he was quick to announce the launch of the Plataforma Sur Bitcoin exchange platform, which allows Venezuelans to trade their local fiat for BTC.
Meanwhile, the country prepares for the acquisition of its first automated teller machine in the next few weeks, according to Panama-headquartered digital cash ATM firm CryptoBuyer CEO, Jorge Farias.
The new crypto ATM, pending installation, comes on the heels of reports that Maduro’s administration has been occasionally impeding access to LocalBitcoins P2P crypto trade’s website, amid worries that a massive selloff at this crucial point in time could further damage the country’s economy.