Venezuelans Turn to Bitcoin to Escape Financial Hardships
Venezuelan Residents Find Financial Solace By Using Bitcoin
Bitcoin.com (BC): How did you hear about and get involved with Bitcoin?
Jorge Farias (JF): I got involved just after the first Bitcoin halving in 2013. I read the Satoshi Nakamoto white paper, and this was an epiphany. A new economic system with almost no limits had been born.
BC: Can you tell our readers about Coincox.com?
JF: Coincox.com is the only Venezuelan blockchain consulting firm focused on companies and institutions interested in bolstering the technology to improve processes such as intellectual property registration. We are working on projects with two banks and two Law firms, and want to expand our operations in Latin America.
BC: Can you tell us how Venezuela’s economic hardships are affecting the average citizen?
JF: In many ways, not only the middle class, but all levels of the society are fighting against food shortages and rising crime rates. Currently, the government is deploying a system to control food delivery by using QR codes and fingerprint identification; this might be the final step to fully controlled communist state using technology.
BC: The Venezuelan currency, the Bolivar, has lost significant value. Can you tell our readers about this?
JF: Venezuela has the record of the highest inflation rate in the world today. The national currency, the Bolivar, lost 20% in one day in December of 2016, after the government ordered the demonetization of the highest bill circulating.
Just like India, there are long lines of people outside the central bank waiting hours to exchange their 100 Bolivar bills for a note, convertible in an undetermined future for news bills or a bank transfer, neither of these concepts have happened yet.
BC: Are Venezuelans hearing about the benefits of Bitcoin within the region?
JF: In the last few months the bitcoin community here is growing fast. There’s been a rise of the 450 % on searches of the word “Bitcoin” using Google. Localbitcoins operations have doubled in the last year, and our mainstream national media have published articles about the benefits of the underlying technology. For this reason, we launched Cryptobuyer.io, a digital assets platform that is for everyone, not just techies or bitcoiners. [It offers the opportunity] to buy and sell bitcoin using Bolivars.
Bitcoin’s Low Fees and Censorship Resistance Is Helping Latin America
BC: Do you believe a digital asset like Bitcoin can help Venezuelans?
JF: Of course, and it is happening. By utilizing Cryptobuyer and others platforms users in Venezuela are online freelancers and starting to accept bitcoin because it’s the only way to get paid without high fees, as most of them used Paypal before, but the money restrictions in Venezuela make it unusable.
Also, other users buy Amazon gift cards in the website using bitcoin to order food and medicine and send these goods to Venezuela using couriers services located in Miami, Florida.
BC: There have been some headlines about Venezuelans conducting Bitcoin mining operations. Can you tell our readers about this?
JF: The electricity cost in Venezuela is subsidized by the state, and this makes more profitable such mining operations. Every day more people are buying miners to operate in the country, but the lack of regulations and sometimes the illegality of related imports are a barrier to starting this kind of business.
BC: How do you feel about Venezuelan officials demonetizing its currency by removing certain bolivar denominations?
JF: It is like the government taking money out of your pocket, without any warning, clarification or substitution program. It is another way of social control.
Bitcoin Companies and ATMs Are Providing More Bitcoin Accessibility
BC: What are some ways Venezuelan citizens can obtain bitcoin in your country?
JF: Cryptobuyer.io is designed to reach people with almost no knowledge about Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies. It offers mobile phone top-ups, payments towards electricity and cable services, all using bitcoin. Also, our service offers remittance services using national bank transfers in Venezuela thanks to our partnership with a network of Bitcoin ATMs Worldwide.
One of the best use cases are within the Panama – Venezuela corridor: expats in Panama can send money using the ATMs from our local Partner Tigoctm.com from Cindy Zimmerman and Ira Miller, in minutes and cheap, to their families and friends.
BC: Do you believe the country’s economic turmoil will someday be fixed?
JF: Only with a government change or a social collapse. Venezuela gave birth to the greatest South American ever, the liberator of five nations, Simón Bolívar. I hope this gene in our collective biology can wake up and change the things for good, and soon.
Thank you, Jorge, for taking the time to explain to our readers what is happening in Venezuela. We hope things change for the good as well and believe bitcoin will benefit citizens worldwide significantly.
What do you think about Venezuelan residents turning to bitcoin to escape financial hardships? Let us know in the comments below.
Images via Shutterstock, Pixabay, Jorge Farias, Cryptobuyer, and Coincox websites.