By CCN.com: As the political and economic crisis in Venezuela escalates, citizens of the South American country are taking refuge in Bitcoin.
In the final week of April, a record amount of Venezuelan bolivars were spent buying bitcoin per Coin Dance. Specifically, bitcoin worth more than 36.5 billion bolivars were purchased last week.
The previous record was bitcoin worth 31.3 billion bolivars which were purchased earlier last month.
The record purchase of bitcoin coincided with a rise in political tensions in the Latin American country. Earlier this week opposition leader Juan Guaido urged the country’s military to join civilian protestors in ousting President Nicolas Maduro.
BREAKING: Venezuela opposition leader Juan Guaido urges military, civilians to take to streets in new mass protests Wednesday. https://t.co/H6LSrRRrF4
— The Associated Press (@AP) May 1, 2019
Will the United States intervene militarily in Venezuela?
This was Guaido’s third attempt to topple Maduro and so far has not achieved the anticipated success. The opposition leader has the support of 50 countries including the U.S., the U.K. and a host of South American countries. Maduro, on the other hand, has the support of China, Russia, Cuba, Turkey and other countries traditionally considered U.S. foes.
When the much-publicized uprising failed to topple Maduro earlier this week, Trump blamed Cuba.
If Cuban Troops and Militia do not immediately CEASE military and other operations for the purpose of causing death and destruction to the Constitution of Venezuela, a full and complete….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 30, 2019
Maduro may still be reigning but Guaido has vowed to continue adding pressure till the regime falls. With the protests and strikes only likely to increase the unrest as ugly violent confrontations become the order of the day, chances of bitcoin trading volumes in Venezuela increasing further are high.
This is because bitcoin can serve as a buffer against the runaway inflation in the country. Last year inflation levels spike to over 12,000 percent.
Inflation, 2018: 12,615%
GDP growth, 2016: -17%
GDP growth, 2017: -15%
GDP growth, 2018: -16%
Economy since 2011: Shrunk by 70%
Share of population living in poverty: 87%
Average weight lost per person in 2016: 8 kg
Average weight lost per person in 2017: 11 kg pic.twitter.com/8EDZpgJW0z
— The Spectator Index (@spectatorindex) May 2, 2019
sure, bolivars to bitcoin volumes are at a record high but what about the petro?
Objective data on the national Venezuelan cryptocurrency Petro is hard to come by. However, Amberes, one of the exchanges sanctioned by Venezuela’s National Superintendency of Crypto Assets and Related Activities (SUNACRIP) to sell the altcoin has indicated that sales are growing steadily, according to Decrypt.
Per the exchange, trading volumes of the petro to bitcoin pair have been on the rise. Some of the buyers are merely speculating while others are purchasing out of curiosity.
SUNACRIP also sells the Petro/Bolivar pair at its offices and this has given rise to informal trading. Most of this trading is taking place online with buyers and sellers interacting over social media. Besides Amberes, other exchanges that have been authorized by SUNACRIP include CryptoEx, Cryptia, Bancar, Afx, Criptolago and CriptoMundo.