Photo: Seeking Alpha

You got your quincena, you planned on buying the few groceries it could, but when you got to the store, you saw an everlasting line outside. People don’t even know what they’re waiting for and you don’t have time for this shitshow today. So you go home. Defeated, pissed off. Two days later, someone at work yells, after checking DolarToday on his smartphone, “It’s over a hundred thousand bolos!” That’s Bs. 20,000 more than the last time you checked.

The fact your paycheck will buy you even less things now hits you like the hammer of god. You really should’ve stood in that damned line.

Most people around the world wouldn’t consider it possible, but it’s like El Ché once said: “Cuando lo extraordinario se hace cotidiano, estamos en presencia de Revolución”. And, boy, was he right. Back in July, one dollar, which defines the prices of pretty much everything, went for Bs. 10,000 in the Venezuelan black market. As I write this, it costs Bs. 103,000 and it might go for Bs. 78 million a year from now. You could’ve bought yourself a house with that money two years ago.

What I mean is, saving money in Venezuela makes no sense. Every minute that goes by, those bolívares in your bank account will buy you fewer things, the seed of a crippling vicious circle in which all you can do is watch your acquisitive power wither away.

The only solution, then, is to turn those bolívares into something that doesn’t devalue, and this is where cryptocurrencies come in handy: easy to buy and easier to sell, a balanced investment in crypto is probably much safer than letting your bolívares evaporate in your bank account, also being an alternative to the traditional U.S. dollars (which acquisition mainly relies in cash, making it tricky and scary sometimes).

If cryptos bust, you’ll lose money, but the bolívar already crashed, on a neverending downward spiral.

The theory behind digital currency is complex, but you don’t need to understand much about how they actually operate; you choose one of the several trading websites available (localbitcoin and cryptobuyer are getting increasingly popular), where you register your cédula and create a digital wallet. Once you finish this one-time process, buying your preferred cryptocurrency doesn’t take longer than a regular bank transfer.

Investing in crypto isn’t that new; people have been doing it for some time (even in Venezuela), but now, after Bitcoin’s crazy price increase, cryptocurrencies went mainstream, even reaching the President. The first time we talked about this phenomenon you could buy one bitcoin for little more than Bs. 300,000. Today, you’d need over Bs. 1,900,000.

But cryptocurrencies are risky. As their value increases, they attract clueless fellas who see them as a simple money-creating machine. A sudden explosion of the crypto bubble, or just losing your wallet’s password, can mean losing all your investment. If cryptos bust, you’ll lose money, but the bolívar already crashed, on a neverending downward spiral. Cryptocurrencies are a more valid alternative in Venezuela than anywhere in the world because they give you the chance to turn a currency that devalues by the minute into another that does exactly the opposite.

This is why common sense is your best friend if you plan on going crypto: invest only money you can afford to lose.

To some, crypto money is a way to redefine economy; to others, is nothing but a scam. But to many Venezuelans, the mere ability to retain purchasing value makes all the difference. A small, yet significant victory against chavismo.

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13 COMMENTS

  1. “Every minute that goes by, those bolívares in your bank account will buy you fewer things, the seed of a crippling vicious circle in which all you can do is watch your acquisitive power wither away.”

    Which is why our clients here at the bodega line up and proceed to spend every single bolivar bill they have in their hands down to using what remains to buy caramelos.

    Inflation coupled with the local chinese supermarket having been closed since late last week means that we now have crates of bills we’re trying to count, organize, and then redistribute to those who are trying to repeat the process via wire transfer.

  2. The only “safe bet” for most Venezuelans is “to get the hell out of Dodge”. Terra del Fuego,Fort McMurray, Novosibirsk or “Empty Quarter” are preferable. For stable currency in Venezuela today, look into the coke or smack trade.

  3. And when it crashes and burns even before the first useless “coin” has been transacted?

    Any bets? Iguanas? Miami terrorists? Portugal?

  4. The only safe bet is that Chavista thieves will steal another election, and things will get even worse in Kleptozuela this year. On the bright side, they’ve probably learned a lesson, and might actually deliver prime Bolivian chicken pechugas for next Christmas.

  5. It is not clear to me way anyone would use a Venezuelan cryptocurrency managed by the Chavistas. In the American bankruptcy creditors are all ranked, taxes, employee wages, secured creditors and then unsecured creditors. I don’t know the Venezuelan bankruptcy laws, assuming you have them but I wonder if there would be any recompense for a Venezuelan crypto currency holder when PDVSA fails.

  6. Mark my words the government will offer up “free petros” if it will buy a vote. In the meantime, can bitcoin be purchased with BF and sold for USD? Can you even buy bitcoins for BF? Who would take the BF if the idea is to get the hell away from them?

    • “Can you even buy bitcoins for BF? ”

      yes you can.

      “Who would take the BF if the idea is to get the hell away from them?”

      The same people who would sell dollars for bsf . Expenses inside Venezuela are not paid in foreign currency and people do eat.

  7. Don’t some people buy hard gold? Or too dangerous because of crime?

    I guess that’s actually a moot point, since most are just trying to survive, without any possibility of saving.

    • “Don’t some people buy hard gold? Or too dangerous because of crime?”

      chavismo has monopolized pretty much anything that can have any value in Venezuela, leaving to the people the useless papers that don’t even work to wipe a butt.

  8. are cryptos a safe bet? yes. Trading and holding some criptos is a great bet for venezuelans.

    Not the Petro though. But i guess with the lack of cash some public employees and contractors wont have a choice and they will have to take the governments shitty pump and dump “cripto” instead of their already shitty normal payments in bsf or usd.

    Petro is not an actual cripto anyways, so why even bother.

  9. At best the Petro will work, sort of, INSIDE Venezuela, and that’s when folks will do anything to game the system and get this or that or anything at subsidized rates, and turn it for dollars – or another such scheme. But this all hinges on the government’s ability to subsidize anything, and with pending bond payments looming in the billions, and the oil cash cow downright skin and bones, I look for this whole charade to slowly wind down in 2018.

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