TL;DR: Letters from Venezuela is an exclusive CoinSpice series, an inside look from a reporter on the ground, documenting the South American nation’s last stand among sanctions, political unrest, international condemnation and concern, economic collapse, and the specter of cryptocurrency possibly demonstrating its main use case. In this installment, Panama-based exchange Cryptobuyer enrolls more than 20,000 merchants to accept cryptocurrency payments in partnership with Megasoft, a well-established billing software company.
20,000 New Merchants Could Accept Crypto Payments
20,000 merchants in Venezuela could start accepting cryptocurrency payments in the near future, according to an announcement from cryptocurrency exchange and payment processor Cryptobuyer, one of the first companies that bet on the growth of these new payment methods in the country. Their cryptocurrency point of sale (POS) system will be linked to a popular billing software provided to several key stores by software company Megasoft, allowing merchants to sell their goods and services without further investment.
Cryptobuyer Pay, software of the Panama based exchange, will also allow merchants to settle payments received in cryptocurrency in fiat, although the announcement did not specify how this will be done. Cryptocurrency will be able to be exchanged in real-time for dollars or euros — the most used currencies in the country, apart from the Venezuelan bolivar. Merchant, the billing software provided by Megasoft, is already compliant with tax regulations in the country, so merchants using it will be instantly compliant.
Megasoft has operated for several years in the country, and its Merchant system has been adopted by several important franchises. Among these is Farmatodo, a popular pharmacy chain that has more than 180 stores scattered through the Venezuela. Other important merchants currently using Megasoft are Central Madeirense, Automercados Plaza, and Excelsior Gama (all supermarket and grocery store franchises), which could allow their customers to potentially pay in cryptocurrencies for everyday purchases. Cines Unidos, a popular movie theater franchise, also uses the POS software.
A Gateway for Major Adoption
Cryptobuyer believes this will incentivize Venezuelans to use cryptocurrency as a real alternative to the US dollar, the region’s most popular currency. According to a recent study, more than half of purchases in Venezuela are paid with dollars, and Cryptobuyer wants to take a part of this market, presenting crypto as an “alternative possibility against the use of the dollar and the solution against the cash shortage.”
The necessary installations and adaptations for the system will be made this month, and locals could see stores accepting cryptocurrency payments as soon as June. Cryptobuyer has big ambitions for crypto adoption in Venezuela and Latin America. Jorge Farias, CEO of Cryptobuyer, stated, “This is not the maximum ceiling that has been raised. We hope to integrate more than 100,000 merchants into the Cryptobuyer Pay network before the end of 2020.”
The Cryptobuyer cryptocurrency roster is quite extensive. Merchants can accept BTC, Ethereum, Dash, Litecoin, Binance Coin, Tether, DAI, and XPT (their own native token). The system also takes more than 100 other currencies in partnership with Liquid’s Quick exchange platform. However, there is a notable omission, namely the Venezuelan official cryptocurrency, Petro, widely believed to have failed in finding any kind of foothold among the local crypto community.
While Petro was indeed accepted in several stores last December as a part of a government plan to pay Christmas bonuses with it, support for Petro has waned after the government removed the feature for merchants to exchange it directly for bolivares as part of the Biopago POS system. Petro usage has slowed to a crawl since then, and the government has covertly admitted as much by announcing newly controlled prices of some products in dollars and in bolivares, but not in Petros.
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