Notably, Venezuela remains far above other countries in regards to bitcoin and cryptocurrency use. According to peer-to-peer exchange LocalBitcoins, the transaction volumes have been climbing since the onset of this year.
The citizens fear situation to worsen as oil production, effectively Venezuela’s sole industry is plunging into a shortage of equipment and technical expertise. Last month, the International Monetary Fund forewarned that the country’s economy is calculated to contract by around 18% in 2018 and the inflation is expected to reach 1,000,000%. Implying that Venezuela is facing one of the worst hyperinflationary crises in modern history.
Alejandro Werner, director of the IMF Western Hemisphere department, stated in an agency’s blog post:
“We are projecting a surge in inflation to 1,000,000 percent by end-2018 to signal that the situation in Venezuela is similar to that in Germany in 1923 or Zimbabwe in the late 2000’s.”
Citizen’s are struggling with the level of inflation so much so that even paying for everyday things is a task. Many are starting to opt bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as a resultant. One Venezuelan citizen, who wished to remain anonymous, said :
“Cash is almost useless as a method of payment,” “The biggest bill is 100,000 bolivars, which cannot be used to pay for anything. A small coffee is almost two million bolivars.”
Cash is only used to pay for public transportation, gasoline, and tolls. “It is chaos!”, according to the Caracas resident:
“While people are often keen to use alternative methods of payment, it is not easy to find stores that accept bitcoin or cryptocurrency as legally you only can accept bolivares. There are there are some places I know that accept the cryptocurrency Dash as a form of payment, however.”
Meanwhile, a Venezuelan whose family moved to Spain in 2004 due to the worsening economic situation, Randy Brito has been trying to educate people in the country about bitcoin via his non-profit organization BitcoinVenezuela.com. Brito said via a Reddit Ask Me Anything,
“I’ve been educating about bitcoin in Venezuela since 2012, in our website, in social media, with collaborators in the country who gave talks, supporting local groups teaching about bitcoin there, running campaigns, giving interviews, podcasts. Besides trying to educate about economics, fighting Socialism both in Venezuela and Spain.”
In response a Reddit user’s question, Brito said:
“We believe in turning BTC to a common medium of exchange in the country.”