What happens when you push someone, they either fall or push back harder. The Venezuelan government’s attempts to ban bitcoin is not a secret. It became too obvious after the state-run media published a poorly researched piece of the digital currency where it called bitcoin the currency of cyber criminals. The publication went a step ahead to mention that the only ones who support bitcoin are cyber criminals and terrorists. The government even arrested bitcoin miners operating in the country to throw a spanner into Venezuela’s bitcoin ecosystem.
Bitcoin users can be defiant; after all, they are using the digital currency by choice to avoid the interference of the government. If the country’s economy is not doing so well and their hard earned money is at stake, the defiance becomes even more prominent. While the government is busy cracking down on the digital currency, the bitcoin community is going about conducting their business as usual.
There is an air of fear and uncertainty in Venezuela regarding the future of bitcoin and government’s interference. But it is not reflected in the usage pattern. In fact, the Venezuelan bitcoin exchange SurBitcoin has reported that their user base has doubled in the past one week. SurBitcoin is the first bitcoin exchange in the country and in an interview with DiarioBitcoin, the founder of SurBitcoin — Rodrigo Souza mentioned that people are a bit worried following the negative article published by Venezolana de Television. SurBitcoin, refuting the allegations against bitcoin made by the state-run media emphasized that SurBitcoin has never presented itself or bitcoin as a way to circumvent government control and bitcoin is just a digital asset and SurBitcoin is just a market where people can buy and sell bitcoin.
Rodrigo Souza also mentioned that a SurBitcoin’s employee was summoned by the country’s intelligence service – SEBIN, following which the employee tendered his resignation. He wonders on what legal basis did the country’s intelligence agency summon his employee and also adds that if the agency does have to put someone behind bars, it should be those in Venezolana de Television responsible for publishing false reports on bitcoin.
Maybe the Government of Venezuela should try using bitcoin instead of working against the digital currency to revive the country’s economy.
Ref: DiarioBitcoin Image: Reuters