A cryptocurrency resource center set up by Bitcoin Cash launched in Barquisimeto, Venezuela in early November. Not even a month later Bitcoin Cash has overtaken Bitcoin adoption.
enezuela’s economy may still be in an economic turmoil, but there may be hope with cryptocurrency on their side.
The economic downturn in Venezuela might be the worst crash in recent history. The county’s antigovernment strikes starting in 2002 lead to the Venezuela GDP falling by 27% in early 2003. The Venezuelan Bolivar devalued many times since then and never recovered.
The high inflation and multiple devaluations left Venezuelans in crisis. There was little they could afford and even less they could do to improve their situation. To this day, Venezuela is still in recession. Although there are still shortages, Venezuela is not short of hope.
Cryptocurrency adoption in the country is on a rise. With no control over their bolivar value, Venezuelans are learning to take what they have into the crypto industry, more specifically into Bitcoin Cash.
On November 7th, the Bitcoin Cash House opened in Barquisimeto lead by its founder, Roberto Garcia.
In a reddit post by Matt Aaron, the podcast manager of Bitcoin.com, Aaron revealed that the Bitcoin Cash house is “A crypto education hub in the city of Barquisimeto, Venezuela. A mall kiosk where local cryptocurrency advocates teach Venezuelans about the power of cryptocurrency…”
The education includes information valuable to Venezuela’s economic situation like ‘how to instantly send money with negligible fees’, ‘how to protect assets against volatility’, and ‘how to find work in the crypto industry.’
The launch was challenging due to the leftover fear from the economic crashes, but with a physical education house in place Venezuelans have been more open to embracing crypto. They’re starting to realize that there are better transaction options. They can send and earn money without losing value or depend on the unreliable bolivar.
“Having a physical location is POWERFUL. We the crypt community, talk ‘trustless’. But the rest of the world has to earn that trust. In person conversations are powerful.”
Says Aaron in the a reddit post. Although there is only one The Bitcoin Cash House location in Venezuela, education for the entire country is still available, but only online.
The bolivar became one of the world’s most worthless currency in less than a decade and there doesn’t seem to be any improvement so far. In 2018, Venezuela messily issued their own crypto coin, the Petro, which is supposedly backed by the country’s oil and mineral reserves. The currency reform fell flat with many critics doubting its technology and stability.
"The petro might be the most obviously horrible investment ever... The petro is about creating something useless – that's why only foreigners can buy them, but only Venezuelans can spend them"
Said Matt O’Brien, an economic reporter for The Washington Post.
For now, The Bitcoin Cash House is on a short 3 month lease. It’s an experimental project. They’re also working on transforming the local economy by educating nearby businesses about Bitcoin Cash and how to start accepting it.
In a recent Cointimes’ report, there were 360 businesses in Venezuela accepting Bitcoin Cash with only 323 businesses accept the most well-known crypto coin, bitcoin, in comparison.