Palestinians start adopting Bitcoin for investment, sending money or buying online

19 Sep, 2018
by Fifi Arisandi
Palestinians start adopting Bitcoin for investment, sending money or buying online

People in disputed region, like the Palestine have started using Bitcoin for investment abroad or online shopping, although the number is still very limited.

Bitcoin has seen a growth in use in disputed region, like the Palestine, although the amount is still very limited. A Gaza-based financial analyst, Ahmed Ismail predicted there are around 20 unofficial crypto exchanges in his area that provide services to local users.

The Palestinians use these services mostly to purchase investment abroad, or for sending money and online shopping, as Ismail does to his clients. He admitted to having helped 30 clients to purchase stocks overseas.

Mohammed, a currency dealer in Gaza, on the other hand, has helped around 50 families every month in the past 4 years to buy $500 worth of BTC each.

He and those who use his service thought Bitcoin is a safer, cheaper, and quicker option, as he said, “Nothing works with Palestinian banks. Bitcoin wallets are alternative banks.”

Another thing they found enticing is the censorship-resistance, as when a transaction is done, it can’t be vetoed by any parties, as reported by Coindesk.

That said, with no online crypto exchanges available in the territory, the option to perform any crypto transactions relies solely on dealers. The fact is, it is kind of difficult to get a fair price with them, according to a Palestinian tech worker who failed to cash out her BTC with fair fiat rate a while ago when crypto prices were on high.

A Palestinian-born professor of economics at the Lebanese American University, Saifdean Ammous expressed his skepticism on the claims that crypto can offer solutions to his homeland economy.

He said, “If the people who want to do the transaction don't both have balances in bitcoin then you're just adding extra layers of conversion from their home currency to bitcoin and back to the home currency. That's never going to be a sustainable solution.”

On the other hand, Kassis, a tech industry player in the Palestine, tries a different approach towards the crypto adoption in the state. His Techno Park will be organizing a crypto hackathon later this year, following a successful 5-days blockchain bootcamp in the first week of September and regular blockchain seminars at universities across the West Bank.

"It's all about bringing awareness and creating new markets," Kassis said.

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Read more about: Bitcoin (BTC)

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