Crypto is going mainstream in Venezuela where one of their biggest department store with some 49 location, Traki, accepts bitcoin, eth, and Petro, the government issued cryptocurrency.
They’ve already processed 1,000 crypto transactions during last summer, with Venezuelans trading some 43,000 bitcoin ($300 million) in 2019 just through the peer to peer exchange Localbitcoins.
Last year opened strong for bitcoin in the hyperinflation stricken country were some 2,500 bitcoin ($17 million) was traded a week in just this exchange.
It then has slowed down a bit to 600 bitcoins ($4 million) a week in part because Localbitcoins has instituted a very strict AML/KYC regime that send their volumes crashing across the globe.
This is just one exchange however with the government there launching its own crypto services.
They have launched for example Patria Remesas for remittences where you can send bitcoin or other cryptos which “will be available in Sovereign Bolivars in the National Wallet.”
They are also undertaking an airdrop of Petro where after signing up for the Petro app by completing KYC and the like, they give for free 0.5 Petro tokens worth at the fixed price of $15.
These tokens are ostensibly backed by Venezuelan resources, like oil, and run on the somewhat obscure NEM blockchain.
All this while their economy is in a deep depression with it contracting at incredible levels.
They don’t even report the GDP anymore since 2014. In addition, stats of its contracting levels have stopped for now a year.
The economic situation is terrible and very prolonged, with it unclear how exactly they plan to get out of this.
Petro is obviously an attempt at it, but its execution leaves much wanting and the attempt seems half-assed at best.
Yet, both cryptos in general and Petro specifically is seemingly providing some avenue for commerce in these tragic circumstances for a once very rich country.