Photo: Crypto Economy retrieved.

Airtm is reshaping the concept of crowdfunding donation campaigns for humanitarian relief, and anyone, everywhere can help.

See, with cryptocurrencies, value is no longer influenced by a government’s decisions, nor limited by isolated bank networks. Cross-border payments into Venezuela become easier, quicker and cheaper, helping accelerate external investment within the country, while providing access to more online-based opportunities.

Anyone can participate, donating even pennies with their preferred cryptocurrency.

At the forefront of cryptocurrency adoption, Venezuela is primed for widespread usage. LocalBitcoins, one of the largest over the counter peer-to-peer exchanges, moves over $20 million, equivalent worth of Bitcoin monthly in the nation. More and more individuals and store owners are accepting cryptocurrency payments, instead of devalued bolivars.

Airtm, a globally accessible e-wallet used by thousands of Venezuelans daily, has become a popular alternative for holding, spending and sending value. It solves the “last mile” problem for distributing funds to Venezuelans, by building an active community of users, connecting local banking to international networks all over the world.

And since it’s intuitive, free and fast, Venezuelans prefer using Airtm’s e-wallet to other forms of local and global payment methods, specifically for accessing funds received from abroad.

Anyone Can Help Venezuela

Starting Tuesday, November 27, Airtm is launching AirdropVenezuela, a campaign to raise $1,000,000 equivalent in crypto-connected money for 100,000 ID-verified Venezuelans.

Distributing $10 to each of the beneficiaries’ Airtm e-wallets, access to Airtm digital money introduces Venezuelans to income generating opportunities like freelance work, investment, donations, remittance and e-commerce, making it easier to purchase food, medicine and other scarce imported goods.

Anyone can participate, donating even pennies with their preferred cryptocurrency, privately via Zcash’s (z-address), or AirUSD, transferring from local currency into Airtm. All donation addresses are listed at (and only at) AirdropVenezuela.org.

Starting Tuesday, November 27, Airtm is launching AirdropVenezuela.

AirdropVenezuela is a unique opportunity for the global cryptocurrency community to unite and address a real-world need, helping real people with real problems. By promoting the use and adoption of cryptocurrency within a short period of time, we hope this campaign spreads cryptocurrency transactions everywhere.

One of the largest untapped natural resources in the world isn’t Venezuela’s oil reserves, but its people. Airtm has the benefit of working with Venezuelans, both as clients and partners, and they actually designed and developed the AirdropVenezuela.org website.

We hope this campaign will make a positive impact, and make it easier for them to participate in the global economy.

AirdropVenezuela.org – Distributing $1M in crypto to Venezuela

Our goal is to inspire the global cryptocurrency community to donate to Venezuelans, extending their chosen cryptocurrency network to users with real world needs and use-cases today, while offering a lifeline where an apparent small amount goes a long way.

For more information on how to be a donor or a recipient, go to AirdropVenezuela.org

Video instructions for donors (English).

Video instructions for recipients (Spanish).

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.

34 COMMENTS

  1. “See, with cryptocurrencies, value is no longer influenced by a government’s decisions, nor limited by isolated bank networks.”

    I am not some curmudgeon… but…

    The Titanic is sinking, and the answer isn’t technology that is A. hard to understand, B. nobody has access to, and C. is sinking itself.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/jayadkisson/2018/11/28/the-cryptocurrency-paradox-and-why-crypto-is-failing/#3efb9be67c9d

    Occam’s Razor. The simplest solutions (answers) suffice.

    1. Can I (a gringo) go online and transfer (credit, debit, etc) to a reputable NGO my wealth who will then get food and medicine to get that then transferred to the people who need it?

    or

    2. Can I (a gringo) get cash to my relatives in Venezuela (mail, courier) who need it?

    “AirdropVenezuela.org – Distributing $1M in crypto to Venezuela”

    The problem with the above statement is one thing: The $. Why does anyone care about any crypto, when the crypto keeps comparing itself to the $? (It reminds me of how the pathetic and sad Portland, Oregon is perpetually comparing itself to Seattle, Washington) So long as the crypto has no intrinsic value, it will be a curiosity at best. IMO, it is a curiosity at best, and a scam at worst.

    I get it that the next generation is enamored with the newest technology. I get it that the author really digs all things crypto. But the people need help don’t understand it, and don’t have access to this sort of thing. I am someone who does have access to it and I don’t care to use it. My wealth (US dollars) is very stable, and I don’t want to go through the machinations of exchanging my very stable wealth into something unstable just for the sake of doing it. There are mechanisms in place already that can get my stable wealth to the people who need it. And it doesn’t involve multiple layers of tech (each taking their “cut”) to do it.

  2. For the sake of discussion let’s ASSUME that, say, Bitcoin is not significantly volatile vis-a-vis the Dollar, and let’s ASSUME that Bitcoin catches on in Vz so that widespread commerce adapts it and a large percentage of the population accepts it, and millions of ramesas are transacted in it.

    Inflation is defined by too many “XXX’s” chasing too few goods. The problem in Vz is more the second half of the equation, ie:, too few goods are produced. If you simply insert Bitcoins for XXX’s instead of Bolivars, then how you have solved the inflation problem?

    • Cryptocurrencies are the tulip bulbs of the last 10-years’ global financial asset bubble, which has already started to burst, and has a long way to go–down. Bitcoin, the crypto leader, is on its way to $2m, probably lower, and most of the 1300/+ cryptocurrencies issued to date are already at zero, near zero, or going to zero. Bitcoin trading is under investigation for market manipulation by the SEC, and its guru, “Novo”, Goldman Sachs-trained, may well be part of it (he who predicted Bitcoin going to $100m).

    • You are right. Of course, in a more honest society, any increased “hard currency” purchasing power derived from cryptocurrencies would bring in more imports, and so supply could increase to match demand. However, at present in Venezuela much of the value of the import transactions would be diverted to the rogues in charge of the sea and air ports, who would be sure to launder their “cut” back out of the country. (Andorra and Florida are getting a bit hot for the crooks these days, but I hear that there are Pacific and Caribbean islands who continue to provide safe harbor for dirty money.)

  3. I am a U.S.A. gringo who really likes PayPal. I can buy stuff online, from outfits that just might be scammers, without giving them credit-card or bank account vitae.

    So, let’s pretend I am a businessman in Miami and need a website targeted for LatAm and want to hire the services of a programmer in Caracas. Why cannot that programmer open a PayPal account, so I can pay him by simply transferring dollars via PayPal from my account into his?

    What is the advantage of a crypto transaction over said PayPal transaction?

    • I understand the advantage is philosophical, not practical. By holding US Dollars, you are trusting the US Federal reserve with your wealth. Some people are so opposed to this idea that they would prefer to use a means of payment that over the last year has fluctuated wildly in value from 10k to 20k and now down to 4k! This is a fundamental problem in using cryptocurrency as a means of payment: if you think its value will increase you will not spend it, but if the other party thinks its value will decrease then they will not accept it!

    • PayPal can unilaterally close your account if they suspect you’re in Venezuela. Some US firms are terrified of dealing with Venezuelan citizens, even though they themselves aren’t sanctioned.

      Bitcoin can also be more liquid against the bolívar than PayPal dollars.

        • The Treasury is going after VPN set by Venezuelans that cheat the system. You guys are stretching the string so much it will break. Venezuelans will never learn.

    • well, for one, stores don’t take paypal, transferring from account to account has hefty fees, specially for tiny amount, even if you are sending to family (as there’s no friends and family option available in venezuela), and good luck getting a bank account in dollars in venezuela to verify paypal, or transfer funds to from paypal. I’m not saying that crypto is necessarily better, but I wouldn’t say paypal is good, either.

  4. Remember, Airtm makes money on every transaction. Follow the money. The author and AirDrop conflate charity with crypto usage. That’s just cynical marketing.

    The people of Venezuela need a stable sovereign currency controlled locally. That’s not on the horizon. Second best is someone else’s stable sovereign currency — anybody else’s stable sovereign currency. Free foreign exchange would give Venezolanos that overnight.

    Venezolanos don’t need to be dependent for media of exchange on ultra-volatile virtual commodities (with zero scrap value) controlled by secret masternode holders in unknown locations without accountability. Then there’s hacking and the government’s ability to cut any access on a whim.

  5. I made a comment about cryptocurrencies earlier that got deleted when the preceding post got deleted.

    I am not against cryptocurrencies, but one of the main points of having a VALUED crypto is to keep your financial transactions safe from the prying eyes of The Government. It appears to me that most of those buying are investing instead of using a crypto as a tool, which is what currency is. A tool.

    I read a story about some young crypto “investor” who was on the hook to the IRS for some capital gains that he had realized when his investments in some coin took off. WTF? How is it that ANYONE has to pay a dime in taxes on profits from a crypto? Why isn’t that information secret?

    What is needed right now in Venezuela (IMO) is cash. Cold and hard. Something that can be kept in your sock and stuffed in a mattress, not something dependent on whether or not you can get a WiFi or 4G signal. I live in the US, and I don’t know any retailer who accepts crypto currency as payment.(I just checked… Amazon.com does NOT accept crypto as payment)

    If I am a Venezuelan retailer, I want big and small bills that I can exchange for wholesale supplies and make change for my customers. I can guarantee from what I am reading, nobody gives the least shit about any crypto-currency when it comes time to feed the kids or pay the guy who has a car to get me to X on time.

  6. “How is it that ANYONE has to pay a dime in taxes on profits from a crypto?”

    I suppose the investor got nailed when he liquidated his position and took the money in $$. After all, the profits weren’t in bitcoin were they?

    The IRS states:”The notice provides that virtual currency is treated as property for U.S. federal tax purposes. General tax principles that apply to property transactions apply to transactions using virtual currency.” This was, BTW, in 2014.

    I agree with you on the inherent weakness that crypto currencies have in Venezuela, especially if electrical power and data are needed to access one’s crypto wallet.

  7. This last deletion was the straw.

    I imagine there will be some surprises come the first of the month at CC. Or, perhaps it started last month?

    • This last deletion was the straw.
      I posted a link on a history of Venezuelan economic policy. It, among other comments, got deleted. I will post the link again.
      Venezuela and the Paradox of Plenty: A Cautionary Tale About Oil, Envy, and Demagogues.

      In the 1950s, Venezuela enjoyed its place among the top 10 richest countries on a per-capita basis. How has it turned into a country where more than 2.3 million of its 30 million citizens have fled since 2015 due to starvation? A toxic mix of creeping interventionism, institutional decay, private property seizures, irresponsible fiat monetary policy, and wide-ranging corruption are the main culprits. But Chavez wasn’t the instigator of this mess; the story goes back much further and should serve as a cautionary tale about one country’s faithful adherence to the tenets of socialism to the bitter end….

      No matter how apologists of Venezuela’s democratic era (1958-1998) slice it, its political class delivered sub-optimal results. From 1958 to 1998, Venezuela’s per capita GDP growth was a disappointin -0.13 percent. In essence, Venezuela grew poorer during the Punto Fijo period….

      By the time Chávez entered the political ring, Venezuela was ripe for the taking. Its disillusioned masses were looking for a savior outside of the political status quo, and Chávez fit the bill. At first, Chávez masked his radical Marxist intentions by positioning himself as an anti-corruption candidate….

      Chávez was correct in his assessment of the previous Punto Fijo order’s corruption. Unfortunately, he continued the same failed policies, expanding their reach and enacting them in a tyrannical manner.

      I also pointed out that the article appeared to in part be based on Francisco Rodriguez’s analysis- re the poor growth. CC has often cited Francisco Rodriguez.
      Here is what CC informed us about deleting comments. Read the Comments.

      Think of our comments section as our Living Room — if you wouldn’t say it over beers in a friend’s living room, don’t write it here. If your comment doesn’t meet the minimum standard of civility reasonable people would respect in that kind of setting, we’re going to delete it. It’s not a punishment, it’s a defense mechanism for the discussion.

      We want to turn our comments forum into an attractive place for smart, engaged people to dive into quality debate about Venezuela.

      There’s no ideological filter here, but there is a civility filter. Disagree vehemently if you need to, but keep it civil.

      My posting a link about the Venezuelan economy was very civil. There wasn’t anything in it that, in Quico’s words, I “wouldn’t say…over beers in a friend’s living room.” As there wasn’t a “civility filter” applied to delete my comment, was there – in CC’s own words- an “ideological filter” used to delete my comment?

      Ciao.

  8. Venezuelans, OR NOT, please read this, I know the majority of readers and bloggers in CC despise me or what I write. I have not received feedback for a long time ago. Weird. I merely hope Alejandro Machado doesn’t delete or alter this post.

    BITCOIN is the worst commodity on earth. I have been saying it. This is not a currency, no more and no better than Maduro’s PETRO. Crypto-Currencies are a commodity, and you have to dig it like gold or oil. I mean, you have to work. The fact that they are virtual is not the equivalent that you can get them without working or for free.

    Then you ought to trade the infamous virtual “money.” The difference is that BITCOIN and all similar crypto “currencies” are virtual.

    Do you understand virtual? I don’t think so. Gold and Oil are property or goods or tangible assets. By the way, since its peak value that commodity has lost a bunch: if you invested $1 at the peak value, you currently have 15¢. And you pretend that donations using this commodity is the best thing for the “poor” Venezuelans. LOL.

    Anyways, our Treasury Department has finally understood the need to track it down so that IRAN cannot circumvent sanctions. Just like everyone in the OFAC list located here ‘https://www.treasury.gov/about/organizational-structure/offices/Pages/Office-of-Foreign-Assets-Control.aspx’; where Venezuelans are quickly filling up the blacklist.

    The Journal issued this article that might be of your interest ‘https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-treasury-adds-digital-currency-to-means-of-identifying-sanctions-targets-1543446964?mod=djemRiskCompliance’.

    What you are doing with the support of the Mexican money launderers is wrong.

    I don’t get it. Please explain.

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