Photo: retrieved

When it comes to crypto, Venezuela represents two sides of the same coin. On one hand, Venezuela is a crypto-dystopia where a dictatorship uses the technology to finance itself (we have covered the petro and its insidious purpose a few times now). But on the other hand, Venezuela is one of the most compelling cases for widespread crypto-adoption. The country’s rampant inflation and the government’s irresponsible economic policies created a need for alternative currency. Years of relatively free electricity gave rise to a robust crypto-community and, today, Venezuela is among the countries with the highest trading volumes on LocalBitcoins.com.

It’s a country where people use blockchain to fight for financial freedom. But how?

The Venezuelan cause has captured the attention of the crypto community around the world, spurring debate about the role that cryptocurrencies can play in humanitarian aid, economic development, and financial inclusion. We have compiled an overview of some notable humanitarian projects, although this list is not exhaustive.

Not your grandma’s charity

While there’s much work to be done, there’s momentum, energy and determination to pave the road ahead.

Using cryptocurrencies for international donations and humanitarian aid means that funds can be sent faster, with much lower transaction fees, and more transparency as to how the funds are spent.

In 2012, for example, Randy Brito founded Bitcoin Venezuela, an online community for Venezuelans to learn and share about crypto and economic independence. Their mission has always been to educate and empower Venezuelans. As the crisis worsened, Bitcoin Venezuela started taking crypto donations from around the world to provide humanitarian relief. From soup kitchens to building wells, these programs have become a bigger part of the organization’s operations.

In early 2018, two Venezuelan brothers started EatBCH, an initiative that takes donations of Bitcoin Cash to run soup kitchens in 18 different locations across Venezuela. EatBCH shares photos of each food delivery on Twitter, as a form of transparency and accountability. Their model has been so popular, it has expanded operations into Sudan.

Let beat (air)drop 

Another strategy for getting funds to Venezuelan hands is through “airdrops”: massively distributing cryptocurrency.

AirTM, is organizing an “airdrop” to send $10 worth of crypto to 100,000 Venezuelans. AirTM is a fintech company that streamlines deposits and withdrawals across 200 different payment methods, and while they didn’t start as a crypto company, they accept nine different cryptos. The AirdropVenezuela project will take place from January to March, next year.

Pale Blue is an early stage project that got attention earlier this year for launching a country-wide Bitcoin airdrop in Venezuela. The team is currently developing an application that allows users to manage cryptocurrency with enhanced security features.

The challenge with airdrops is that there’s a limited audience of Venezuelans who know how to use them, so education and training are critical for these projects to achieve large scale success and one group in particular is launching small scale tests in Cúcuta, to understand user needs and challenges.

Cúcuta wasn’t built in a day

Cúcuta, Colombia, has been in the news as the place where 5,000 Venezuelans cross the border daily in search of a future, and that’s where Cripto Conserje operates, launching small scale trials with crypto. How small? The first test was delivering five dollars to one person.

The project brings new meaning to slow and steady, incrementally increasing their trials to five, then thirty, and now fifty participants, while testing the software to make sure everything works, and training users so they understand cryptocurrencies.

Tipping the scales

Caracas Chronicles, a site you might have heard about, has partnered with Open Money Initiative to empower through education. Communities like ZCash, Horizen, and Dash give grants for special projects, including food drives, software development and conferences.

While Venezuela is two sides of the same coin, the crypto community has the power and responsibility to work together so scales tip in the right direction. Venezuelans need educational resources, reliable products and the continued support of the international community to build the nation we know it can become.GiveCrypto, a philanthropic organization, has also established a strategic focus on Venezuela.

So let’s make it happen.

This piece is part of our #Omichronicles series in partnership with Omipedia. If you want to help bring crypto to the masses, create an account here and share your knowledge! 

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.

36 COMMENTS

  1. “Venezuelans need educational resources, reliable products and the continued support of the international community to build the nation we know it can become.”

    Venezuelans need a military intervention.

    • @Ira, there will never be a military intervention. That among other things would do what? Maduro will certainly be a victim and all of the socialist worldsw is only waiting for that. Watch the Spaniards or French analysts, they’d love it too. Don’t you think that’s a coincidence.? Maduro non-sequitur non-sense, will only die of natural self-inflicted wounds like his mentor. And delete Venezuela from the map, at least for the next 5 centuries.

  2. Finally, a commendable use for crypto-currency. Better hurry, though, as the already-started speculative financial bubble collapse takes tulip crypto-currencies to unfathomable lows.

      • Thanks, though this is certainly NOT “step-by-step” and the instructions suggest I cannot even do this from my Coinbase(Bitcoin) account. But I appreciate the response.

      • It appears that either establishing a relationship with “the right merchant” or somehow making sure the same bank(Banesco?) is used on both the sending and receiving can be very important points. Thanks for your response.

        • Pilkunnussija, I’m not sure you understood what I said. You can buy cheese directly from a merchant with Bitcoin, from your Coinbase account, directly to the merchant’s own Bitcoin wallet address. No fiat, not bank transfers, just pure Bitcoin on-blockchain transactions.

          • Yes, I understood that. But not every merchant accepts Bitcoin, only “the right merchants.” For those merchants who do not accept Bitcoin, I need to make sure the buyer of my Bitcoin uses the same Vz bank as the merchant. This is an important point, so the exchange will allow me to specify the bank that will be used to make the payment in BsS, correct?

          • Pilkunnussija, not exactly “the right merchant”, but the merchants that you/we convince of accepting Bitcoin payments directly.

            For the merchants who don’t accept Bitcoin directly, you would need to give the Bitcoins to someone (Bitcoin buyer), yes. This person then would pay the merchant with whatever method he has: bank transfer, Venezuelan debit card, cash (if he finds enough bills); but I don’t understand why you bring this up to the example, this is simply a regular BTC->VES conversion and then regular fiat transfer, it doesn’t have much to do with Bitcoin enable merchants. And no, Bitcoin buyers using exchanges in Venezuela (e.g. LocalBitcoins.com) won’t usually send funds to a third party bank account, because the number of scams and issues are increasing for people doing that, so they usually use their own bank account to withdraw and then use the Bolivars in whatever they need, no directly to the payee (merchant)’s bank account.

          • I see, this moves the transaction 100% into Bitcoin- from quoting a price to making a payment. This way we leave BsS and all other fiat currencies behind. I do see a certain logic to this, since fiat currencies are a transfer of wealth from the holders of the currency (citizens) to the issuer of the fiat currency. In some cases the issuer is widely seen as trustworthy (USD), but in other cases the issuer of the fiat currency is not trustworthy and will not only suck the non-fiat wealth from the citizens but will also use the fiat currency as a way to control the population by rewarding supporters and punishing dissidents. BTCVEN, am I understanding you correctly?

          • That’s correct, Pilkunnussija, going full-Bitcoin payments (then using any other way to store value if people prefer, e.g. USD, Dai, UpholdUSD…) is the best way Venezuelans have to regain their economic freedom.

      • How many people do have the internet in ”your town?”

        You’re a Venezuelan thinking like a Venezuelan. In my youth days, just by the time destiny took me out, you would have been called a SIFRINO

        is everyone so smart these days?

      • THIS is the kind of example I would like to see! Thanks, and I’d love to see the exact prices(all relevant currencies reported) and times(hello to goodbye) reported for a REAL ARMS-LENGTH TRANSACTION. Can you talk to Carlos Hernandez to do this?

      • @Carlos Hernández, @ImVito, @Elena Giralt, @etc. privileged individuals dedicated to squeeze the lime even if there isn’t much juice to extract. You are probably among the same kind of cockroaches that almost destroyed the well-intended MTurk. You surely use VPN to hide your identity thinking that we won’t track you back. Keep laundering money. That will never solve Venezuelan problems if they have any. Bunch of idiots.

  3. Great initiatives, much needed help to alleviate such a humanitarian disaster.

    That said, it’s exactly what the Castro-Chavista sinister Master Plan called for:

    1/ Eliminate Separation of Powers so that a few Thugs can control everything.
    2/ Steal everything in sight including oil and minerals proceeds, thus bankrupting the nation.
    3/ Expand the corrupt “government” by the millions, so people become complicit, dependent on the regime
    4/ Strangle the private sector, forcing thousands of legit companies to shut down
    5/ Force millions of the honest, skilled people to leave the country, and then average, poor people
    6/ Bribe, corrupt and divide the Muddy “opposition”, thus crushing it.
    7/ Bribe the entire military, expand it with about 2000 corrupt, bogus “Generals”. Yes 2000 “generals”
    8/ Imprison and torture any left military conspirators or anyone opposing the criminal regime, creating a state of sheer Terror and Fear.
    9/ Make everyone left completely dependent on the “government”, beggars for Clap bags of food, pensions, bogus “ministries” and “alcaldias” programs (5 Million people on Maduro’s payroll, enchufados in that way)

    Then, when the nation is totally under control by the Chavista narco-criminals, when it has forced its best people out, when there are millions less of mouths to feed, when Famine arrives and people starve, when people die for lack of medicines, billions in Remesas start pouring in. Billions of Euros and US$ from the 3 million forced exiles, who begin to work overseas, and have to help family left behind.

    That, and then the Humanitarian and Financial help described in this post, which will continue to increase.

    So with this extra income from overseas, the Criminals in power can continue to steal everything that’s left. Make shady deals with the Chinese and Russians, to steal even more under the table, even when it means mortgaging the entire oil and minerals industries for decades to come. While the expand the enormous Drug Trade (No one talks about it, but Kleptozuela is probably THE largest Drug hub and passage for drugs in the entire planet, a huge source of revenue, much bigger than the oil and minerals revenue).

    That was the plan. Steal, get rich, perpetuate themselves in power, crush the opposition. And then steal some more, decade after decade. Tragically, all of these Remesas and international aid, donations in multiple forms allow the criminal narco-regime to keep a tight grip on power. Everyone left is dependent.

    Ran out of things to steal? No more oil or minerals because the Chinese own it? No problem. Continue with the Massive Drug Trade and let the Remesas and Financial aid from abroad pour in. Which stabilizes the country and calms any crisis. In other words, if there were no billions in Remesas and Financial help from overseas, the criminal regime would probably crumble, now that the oil/minerals were mortgaged.

    That’s how they plan to stay in power for ever. Tragically the Castro-Chavista sinister Master Plan is working to perfection. Let the international money pour in! The more, the merrier. That way, the narco-regime will never fall, become no country wants to intervene militarily, Panama style, which at this point would be the only way to knock Chavismo out of power. Welcome to Cubazuela, for many more decades to come.

    • You know, repeating the same rant over and over again only makes it true in your mind. Which, from the likes of it, could use a serious re-boot.

      Try some original thought. You do write well, but you keep saying the same thing over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over…………………………………………………….

      Maybe ride your bike around Miami a bit more, you know, clear the mind and all. By the time you’re done you should be in Canada.

      • Every one time someone “repeats the same rant”, the useful idiots and establishment apparatchiks repeat the same old lies one hundred times. Leftists have not offered any “original thoughts” for 150 years.

      • I really don’t think you get the point:

        Most people have to be hit on the head with the truth a hundred times before they “get it.”

        What you categorize as “repetitive” is simply repeating those truths, so how can anyone have a problem with THAT!?

        Unless, to you, the truth hurts.

        • “Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth”, is a law of propaganda (Joseph Goebbels)

          Many here don’t want to hear the truth because it hurts. Go for Goebbels.

    • ”Humanitarian disaster” – are you seriously talking about Venezuela? This ”Humanitarian disaster” is the scam of the century, sorry what century? Can you offer a comparative historical reference or point to compare?

      I’m looking for a good explanation I can copy paste to give away to my students. Every semester I must explain Venezuela but I can’t – I always said ”sh.t happens”, or ”what has happened will happen again”.

      But you guys have made this so unique in history I can only compare to Hitler’s or Mussolini’s power mania, which is relentlessly reinforced by fanatics or submission of Venezuelan. The desire for power by Venezuelan individuals themselves, completely unsolicited self-inflicted, destruction and learned behavior: if you have it, I must have it too.

      DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT SAYING THAT VENEZUELAN ARE FASCISTS. I AM TRYING TO PLACE YOU AND YOUR VENEZUELAN CITIZENS IN SOME COMMON DENOMINATOR OF BEHAVIORAL PROFILE. PAST OR PRESENT.

      WHO ELSE WOULD BEHAVE THE SAME WAY AS VENEZUELAN HAS DONE OVER THE LAST 30 YEARS? I WILL REWARD THE 10 BEST ANSWERS WITH 0.001 BITCOINS.

      A FACTUAL AND VERIFIABLE REFERENCE, IN THE WORLD, OVER THE PAST 5000 YEARS, BUT THE CLOSER TO OUR TIMES THE BETTER. THE REWARD WILL BE OF 0.05 BITCOIN.

      SEND YOUR ANSWERS TO: [email protected]

      DEADLINE: DEC 15, 2018

      To be continued on another time…

  4. Oh, and don’t be surprised when the narco-criminals start finding ways to steal these “crypto” initiatives, airdrops, etc. They are highly capable thieves, quite ingenious and inventive. They’ll find ways to steal this too.

  5. ….and now, REALITY.
    .
    REALITY says the US dollar is used to buy/sell/barter in every street market in every city in the country. The crypto in Ven was & will continue to be a scam.

  6. REALLY!!!

    Do You Know That Countries in Europe Are Thinking Of Forbidding Cryptos Forever?
    But not because they serve the purpose of money launderers, drug dealers, etc. It is to protect the environment! They consume vast amounts of energy, which is detrimental to the Environment. Only Venezuelan with Venezuelan mentality and no-cost energy can think about this stupid post.
    Please stop writing or write in reality, not in Mickey Mouse, Cinderella and Snow-White castles, the bad and the good guys, etc.
    LOL

  7. “Cúcuta wasn’t built in a day”

    I think you mean ROME. Do you know that it took 1000 years to exit the dark ages after the Romans were destroyed by barbarians?

    This is absurd. Hahaha LOL

  8. I read this once more. Did I understand CC is in the scheme? Why are you publicly advertising for a declared money laundering patron AirTM? Why 10000 Venezuelan? I want it too? How do pick the fortunate souls? Only 10000 people out of the millions who don’t have Internet access. This is ridiculous (I still want in)

  9. For those than do not have balls to respond.

    I suggest attending this AML seminar in NY:

    The latest issues in money laundering

    Governments around the world have enacted a tightening web of rules to prevent money laundering, including scrutiny of real-estate in the U.S. and unexplained wealth orders in the U.K. Yet, a string of major fines on banks, high-profile scandals like 1MDB and the growth of cryptocurrencies have all raised questions about the effectiveness of anti-money laundering measures.

    The session will conclude with perspective from a leading platform for cryptocurrency trading on the role of compliance in cryptocurrencies as the market develops and becomes more embedded in the world financial system.

    Keep changing bitcoins for cheese. We’ll come after you.

  10. @ElenaGiralt: did you see your marvelous Bitcoin investment global market just lost USD 15,000,000,000 in one day ($15 billion) and has attracted even more attention from regulators. You have won the Oscar of Stupidity.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here