"Can Bitcoin Save Venezuelans?" asks NYT opinion piece

24 Feb, 2019 | Updated: 25 Feb, 2019
by David Robb
Can Bitcoin Save Venezuelans? asks NYT opinion piece

As the political and economic crisis in Venezuela deepens, a recent New York Times piece is drawing more widespread attention to the role that Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptos could have to play in the process of solving it. It was written by Venezuelan economist Carlos Hernandez.

We've reported often on how crypto is being increasingly adopted in Venezuela, as a way to avoid the hyper-inflation that is affecting its national currency, the Bolivar. LocalBitcoins.com, which facilitates direct face-to-face swaps of fiat for BTC, is a popular trading platform used in the country. Alongside BTC, Dash (DASH) has seen considerable adoption. 

Read more: BTC trading in Venezuela reaches all-time highWhat has the Trump-backed Venezuelan president Guaido said about Bitcoin?

According to Hernandez, keeping his money in the Bolivar would be "financial suicide". He trades his salary for BTC, but is careful not to make transactions that are too large, to avoid the attention of the government. Any transaction "worth about $50 or more will automatically freeze your account until you can explain to your bank where the funds come from".

The economist also mentions that PayPal and other services are effectively banned in the country due to how exchange controls work, so it is often difficult for freelance workers to get paid, forcing them to turn to crypto. His brother is an example of someone who has done this. He was able to send money to a bank account in Colombia, via BTC trading, in order to eventually move there when he had saved up enough. Keeping his funds in BTC also prevented them from being confiscated at the border, which is a common practice.

Read more: Will Bitcoin replace fiat money?


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