Venezuela’s Bitcoin trading volumes (pictured) in the peer to peer exchange Localbitcoins are up by close to $2 million, rising another 25% this week to near $10 million with 2,480 bitcoin traded.
The direct exchange of bitcoin by Venezuelans has been growing every week since the beginning of 2018.
At that point, there were only about 300 bitcoin traded, with it gradually growing to 600 where it stayed for much of summer.
An uptrend then continued in autumn, when it rose to 1,000. It isn’t until the legitimacy crisis this winter when we see a big jump to 1,600, then 2,000 and now to 2,500.
The situation is somewhat tense in Venezuela as the disputed president, Nicolas Maduro, has begun what he called the biggest military drill in Venezuela’s history.
Orgulloso de la capacidad, logística y de despliegue de nuestra digna Milicia Nacional Bolivariana. ¡Rumbo a los 2 Millones de Milicianos y Milicianas! pic.twitter.com/0Dp9KnviPe
— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) February 11, 2019
There’s a standoff in regards to aid from America which Venezuela’s military is not allowing into the country.
Juan Guaido, who has appointed himself acting president as he claims the recent election was illegitimate, said demonstrations are to take place this Tuesday to call for the aid to be allowed in.
Some of it somehow made it inside Venezuela, with Guaido stating: “Today we made the first installment of the #AyudaHumanitaria. 1.7 million portions to cater to our pregnant mothers and children in a state of malnutrition.”
Hoy hicimos la primera entrega de la #AyudaHumanitaria. 1.700.000 porciones para atender a nuestras madres embarazadas y niños en estado de desnutrición.
— Juan Guaidó (@jguaido) February 11, 2019
In addition to this political crisis, the value of Bolivar has collapsed to the point children now climb mountains of Venezuelan money.
That has led to a significant contraction since 2014 with Venezuela’s economy shrinking each year, down by double digits since 2017.
Many thus have left the country, with bitcoin potentially an asset of choice as it can’t be seized at the border.
The currency, in addition, might be useful for international payments as it can’t be blocked by national or international banks or governments.
Awareness, thus, seems to be spreading with some speed a year after we asked whether cryptos can come to Venezuela’s aid.
Cryptonians directly tipped Venezuelans last year, showing the viability of the digital currency. Word then begun spreading to the point now cryptocurrencies are mainstream with Maduro himself talking about bitcoin and eth on national TV.
From previous reports by online Venezuelans, some shops accept cryptos for payment. How much of these trading volumes are speculation and how much is economic activity, however, is not clear.