In contrast to many people around the world, who adopt bitcoin to make a quick profit, citizens of Venezuela use the currency as a matter of sheer survival. Venezuelans resort to the cryptocurrency to stay afloat, fighting the rising tides of hyperinflation. Even in the face of fierce government crackdowns, which are only getting worse, its people continue to rely on bitcoin.
Bitcoin Miners Must Register
We previously covered the Venezuelan government’s crackdown on bitcoin mining and how people are still willing to risk arrests and police extortion to continue. Despite this, the government is not relenting, and even appears to be intensifying its efforts.
A mandatory national registry of bitcoin miners is expected to launch by December 22. Carlos Vargas, President Maduro’s recently appointed ‘superintendent of Venezuelan cryptocurrency’, said on Tuesday: “We want to know who they are, we want to know where they are, we want to know what equipment they are using.”
At the same time, Venezuelan police continue to harass miners. On Saturday, a team of detectives arrested Daniel Andrés Di Bartolomeo Viloria, and took position of his 21 mining rigs. He faces charges of money laundering, illicit enrichment, computer crimes, financing terrorism, exchange fraud, and damage to the national electric system.
A Matter of Survival
It is, sadly, nothing new for South Americans. They’re often caught in the traps of looking for ways to defeat hyperinflation, government wealth confiscations, and capital controls. While the region’s middle class and wealthy view bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as an investment choice, Venezuelans fear they have no other viable option.
Citizens have been forced to use bitcoin to be able to provide basic necessities for their families such as food, medicine, and clothing. In one lengthy report about the situation, Venezuelan John Villar describes how he used bitcoin to buy plane tickets abroad and medication for his wife as well as pay his employees’ salaries. He said: “This is not a matter of politics. This is a matter of survival.”
What can citizens do in the face of a government crackdown on bitcoin miners and users? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Cactus24.
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