Op-Ed: How Cryptocurrency Can Save Venezuela

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Venezuela’s Current Socialist Nightmare

Hello, my name is Oscar. I was born and raised in Maracaibo, Venezuela.  Life here is not easy but the cryptocurrency Bitcoin Cash is making things a lot better for me and others. Failures of the socialist state makes it hard for everyone in Venezuela to live their lives. Constant electricity outages, crime, water shortage, expensive and limited food and a fiat currency that doesn’t work because inflation problems caused by bad economic policies. Venezuela is a terrible place to idealize a peaceful future. But there were a couple of tools that helped us through those painful times. Venezuelans know the internet is a window of opportunities, and they’ve been using it to escape the regulated economy dictatorship. A couple of years ago it was very popular for Venezuelans to start accepting payments using PayPal, while others had luck to open international accounts while visiting other countries when that was still possible for a middle-class family (now, it is not possible). Venezuelans regained control of their economic freedom seeking tools to liberate them from the destruction of central-planning. But these payments systems aren’t reliable, and most users that used PayPal are starting to suffer censorship due policies from the company to shake away possible claims of fraud or legal connotations with the Venezuelan government. Venezuelans were losing their tools to keep their economic freedom, until Bitcoin started to get popular.

How Cryptocurrency Helped

A year ago, when Bitcoin Core, BTC, started its bull run from 2017, it was gaining international attention around the world. In Venezuela, a country where options are very limited for middle and lower class families, Bitcoin started to rise attention into the mainstream economics of the country. First off, trading volume on Local Bitcoins started to rise, as people starting to put money on Bitcoin as a form of investment. While its popularity started to rise, a few groups started to emerge with the objective to instruct people about the real usage of Bitcoin. But then fees became big and the BTC stopped being usable as money. And it was slow too. It would take days to receive payments. Then, BCH emerged as the real option for international, border-free and censorship resistant payment method that could save Venezuelans from their desperation.

To understand how bad inflation is, mentalize that most people in Venezuela wants to exchange to other currencies as soon as they get considerable amounts of money in Bolivares. They don’t believe in their national currency, due its bad records. Venzuelans often pointed to get USD in cash, in order to save their savings from inflation. But USD is a very limited source in Venezuela, as it was illegal to trade USD openly, and exchanges doesn’t exist because they can’t properly  operate due massive regulatory norms they have to follow and impossibility to freely participate in the open market.

I don’t want to drag this topic a lot, but Venezuelans doesn’t have tools to exchange their Bolivares easily. They have to depend on the black market to get the dollars in cash or PayPal. Some might exchange using international bank accounts, but it’s very limited for the common people to access this.

This is where Bitcoin came in. As BTC started to rise volume in Local Bitcoins, it started to become as a price marker for USD/Bolivares exchange rates.

Not only that, because Bitcoin also became a legal currency in Venezuela, with the government supporting it as an idea and even legalizing cryptocurrency mining around the country. They also did created their official “cryptocurrency” called PetroCoin, but as far as people is publicly informed, this coin isn’t supported by any transaction and its network its not up for public usage or it might never existed.

Venezuelan’s only option was BITCOIN CORE… but not anymore.

Why Bitcoin Cash is the real solution for Venezuelans

Bitcoin Core (BTC) did help at some point to establish cryptocurrencies in Venezuela. It was achieved because it’s the first and oldest network to exist and the most popular around the world. But now that Bitcoin is being considered as a reliable currency for a very large group of Venezuelans. Things need start moving forward:

Bitcoin needs to be a payment method in Venezuela, and the only currency capable to achieve that is BCH. BTC demonstrated to us that their currency isn’t ready to be a payment method due technological limitations. BCH solved the limitations that BTC has. They didn’t want to fix due political differences, as they don’t see Bitcoin as an open payment system. I don’t want to get into all the fighting but the proof is that people of Venezuela cannot afford to use BTC, especially when BCH works exactly like old BTC used to.

I won’t lie, people is still learning about this. December showed us BTC isn’t ready for this approach, and Venezuelans aren’t ready to accept large fees: not even 0.10 cents fees.

I’ll put things in perspective:

A Venezuelan meal can cost around $1 or $2 for a lunch.

A Venezuelan dinner/lunch/breakfast could be as cheap (or expensive) as $1 or $2 USD compared to international prices. This is due economic policies and regulations, and also life quality in the country.

A modest lunch for two people is $8 USD based on current rates (21-09-2018)

1 USD equals 100 BsS or 10.000.000 BsF (Before conversion to new Bolivares).

Venezuela salary is $15 a month.

As impressive as it sounds, Venezuela salary is as low as $15 a month. I can’t attach any visual proof to this, but instead, sources that back-up my claims.

http://www.el-nacional.com/noticias/economia/maduro-nuevo-salario-minimo-1800-bolivares-soberanos_248422

Not only food could be worth $1 or less, but most basic needs can be.

A taxi ride could cost as much as $1 or $2 per ride. It might sound cheap, but for an average Venezuelan citizen spending a buck for only a taxi is a big deal. Imagine now using BTC as a payment method if it hits mainstream adoption and high transactions volume: a Venezuelans citizen won’t be able to pay the taxi with fees over a dollar. Even thinking in spending 0.10 cents as fees could be damaging for the average Venezuelan budget. And fees were higher than $50 earlier this year!

taxi-info-bitcoin-cash-venezuela

A current taxi ride: 157,72 Bs.S – It is equal as – almost $2 USD (21-09-2018)

You may think: a taxi ride might not be a big deal If there’s public transportation. The fact is, Public Transportation in Venezuela has a very bad quality service, and it is very limited for most parts of the country. But, how much could be a pair of underwear? Something that is a basic need apart food. We are not talking about expensive clothing, but the cheapest prices we might find around:

maracaibo-venezuela-expensive-underwear

Price shown: 259,00 Bs.S – It is equal as – almost $3 USD (21-09-2018)

It is almost a fact at this point that big fees will harm the usage of Bitcoin is Venezuela, based on its original purpose. Maybe simply cashing out for Venezuelans, If fees are over $50 once more, it’s going to translate as a complete nightmare, because they could be losing most of their savings in a single transaction. That’s not a reliable system. Venezuelans will abandon BTC (Bitcoin Core) before fees reach these levels for a second time.

We don’t have a second chance to fail.

Cash shortage in our country: People wait in days long lines to get a little amount of cash.

There’s no cash available in Venezuela to take out from the ATM machines. You need to depend on bank transfers or card transactions in order to make payments in almost any store. This also makes public transportation payments a mess for the average people, as public transport doesn’t accept other payment method apart of cash.

Cash is so hard to find people sell it over a 500% of its original value shown the bank note.

Source: http://www.venezuelaaldia.com/2018/09/20/venta-informal-de-efectivo-del-nuevo-cono-se-hace-al-500-en-los-mercados/

I’ve take a few photos of ATMs and banks around my city. This is what a bank looks in Venezuela, all day its open.

Venezuelans waiting outside of a bank. A common sight.

People even make lines at night and sleep in front of the doors, waiting until it opens the next day. (21-09-2018)

How is Bitcoin BCH is helping me

Bitcoin Cash is helping me big time to improve my lifestyle. In general, cryptocurrencies turned to be out a solution for problems around the country, but the one that holds the biggest chance of success is BCH. For me, is clear that we need a reliable system for payments, that has almost no fee and is supported by an international community and multiple development groups.

In my personal case, Bitcoin Cash community has approached my talents and offered me job opportunities to contribute in the ecosystem. I’m more than happy to accept payments in Bitcoin Cash.

I also work as a contributor for CoinSpice receiving contract payment in and paying my co-workers in BCH. They are more than happy to use their BCH to spend or to exchange it for other currencies.  Sadly, cryptocurrencies in general are still at early-adoption stages. A few places accept BCH, BTC and ETH as payment method, but they are very open to their choices: there’s no an specific one they rely on. Top coins of coinmarketcap started to gain massive adoption this year, not at 2017. So most Venezuelans haven’t see the impossibilities of BTC as a payment method, like in December of 2017, where fees went up a +100% ($50 for a single transaction, or even more at some point). The reason BTC is still a choice is because of speculation and not because they use it in commerce. 

Luckily, some restaurants around my city accept BCH as payment method. I did one of the first payments on Bitcoin Cash there. My experience, with a 0-confirmation and almost no fee transaction was spectacular. This is the payment method that can save Venezuela the long term.

A dinner for four people: It is equal to around $23 USD (21-09-2018)

Bitcoin Cash also gave me the opportunity to increase my average salary wages. I personally started freelancing eight years ago and had my methods to accept international payments… but BCH made it easy to navigate payments around the internet. I know this feature applies to other cryptocurrencies including BTC, but BCH working for this and as a payment method is what Bitcoin was meant to be and it has a plan to scale large unlike BTC. I checked out Lightning Network but it seems like it requires a lot of technical skills and its not something the average person or merchant will ever use in Venezuela.  There’s many tools Venezuelans can use to get pay in BCH as soon as possible. Just download a wallet app and you can start receiving BCH within seconds.

Here are some sights Venezuelans are using already:

And a lot more options that Venezuelans can use to start looking for job opportunities and ways to produce money out of their talents.

So now, based on everything I mentioned:

For me, there’s no other solution: BCH is the way to go

I’ve been learning about cryptocurrency for almost two years. I’ve seen some of the current best and worst days of crypto. As much as I like other currencies, I can’t deny Bitcoin Cash BCH possibilities to improve the life quality of Venezuelans.

We need to start educating people and starting to shine a light into what it is the real cryptocurrency that can save Venezuela from the hole where is confined. The cryptocurrency that can be used like money. We need people to stop speculating and start using. It’s not only Venezuela, but a lot of other countries like Argentina, Zimbabwe, Suriname, Angola and more.

If we believe in Bitcoin, we need to help the adoption for BCH. We want to have a system that we can rely for payments, that is trusted and that is cheap and fast to send and receive.

Bitcoin is cash, we should prove it now. Venezuela is an opportunity, and me, as a Venezuelan, I want to see it success for the sake of my people.

Sincerely,
Oscar
Help support me bringing cryptocurrency to Venezuela by donating to the address below.
bitcoincash:qzl0lnc5eeq2zpyxcsas02r3kgd0juu7858lkg8ncd