With the end of such a tumultuous year, we can say that a lot has happened (and shaken) in all ecosystems. Aside from the obviousness caused by Covid-19 and the quarantine this season, it’s important that we focus more directly on what 2020 was like for the Venezuelan crypto ecosystem.
New companies accept cryptocurrencies
Venezuela had already shown a number of companies before 2020 that accepted various cryptocurrencies as a means of payment. This year has seen a significant explosion on the list. From the hotel industry to well-known chains like Pizza Hut, they have announced that they will accept Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dash and other cryptocurrencies as a means of payment for their products or services.
Likewise, In the middle of the year we got to know the alliance between the Cryptobuyer exchange and the payment processor Mega Soft, so that the more than 20,000 companies that use their services could accept payments in crypto currencies via the Cryptobuyer Pay solution developed by the exchange.
First satellite node installed
That year 2020 also implied that the first Bitcoin node was connected to the blockstream satellite network. Thanks to a joint work by Cryptobuyer and the AnibalCripto group, the feat was achieved despite the quarantine and the associated restrictions on the logistical aspects that the installation of this type of equipment can entail. Likewise, those responsible for the node announced that this was the first step in building a system that would act as a mesh network to conduct Bitcoin transactions without an internet connection.
New regulations for mining
Despite the economic complications Venezuela is going through, the cryptocurrency mining industry has grown significantly. Is accepted by the University of Cambridge as the Latin American country that contributes the most to the Bitcoin hashrate, which implies that some computing power is being generated from the country.
Beyond assessing its size and impact It is worth remembering that in 2020 a new regulation was proposed for the country’s industry. In addition to creating a mandatory register and introducing new taxes for those who work in the various sectors directly related to the activity of cryptocurrency mining, the new regulation has sparked a controversial “National Digital Mining Pool” in which they It was raised that it was mandatory for the miners to “bundle” their computing power in the state pool mentioned above. There is still no real clarity on this final issue raised in the regulation.
State most invaded the ecosystem
While it may sound paradoxical, the Venezuelan state could easily be classified as one of the states most associated with the world’s cryptocurrencies. In this year 2020 we were able to see scenarios like the “experiment” for the administrative unit in charge of identifying Venezuelans to try to bill Bitcoin for issuing passports through the BTCPayServer platform for Venezuelans abroad (experiment, the eventually was not implemented) the light and was not implemented in 2020).
Although the Nicolás Maduro administration has not yet finalized the development of the Bitcoin passport collection scheme, its vision for the use of crypto assets has not deteriorated. In the same year we could see the publication of the “Anti-Blockade Law”, a legal entity in which the President, sanctioned by a significant group of countries, proposed the use of cryptocurrencies for various commercial operations.
More precisely, Sources already exist to confirm that the Maduro government would use Bitcoin to make payments between Iran and Turkey, two of the main geopolitical allies the Venezuelan state is currently supporting.
However, focus on the hard facts, We could see how the Venezuelan Army decided to open the “Center for the Production of Digital Assets of the Bolivarian Army of Venezuela”, a center that, according to the public announcements submitted, has various ASIC mining machines with a proof-of algorithm. Work or proof of work in Spanish which, according to the military leaders behind the inauguration of the center, is intended to generate “unblockable” financial income.
All of these advances by the Venezuelan state in the crypto ecosystem have been made to seek “solutions” to the sanctions the United States has imposed on Nicolás Maduro along with his cabinet and senior military officials. However, the US authorities have also stated that they are monitoring and even monitoring the cryptocurrency operations they have carried out by the leadership of Nicolás Maduro The Superintendent of Crypto Assets of Venezuela, the highest authority in charge of regulating the crypto ecosystem in the country, was counted among those requested by the U.S. Department of Justice this year.
Record of bolivars traded with Bitcoin
The upward trend in the price of Bitcoin was linked to the rapid devaluation experienced by the Venezuelan currency, which is well known in the crypto ecosystem, which ended up with record numbers in the number of bolivars traded in the BTC / VES business. It wasn’t until the first week of December that LocalBitcoins saw 5.85 billion bolivars mobilize on their platform, a record number that just surpassed the mark set in the last week of November and sold 4.05 billion bolivars. Bolivars. The series of record-breaking weeks began in October and each subsequent week has traded more bolivars than the previous one since then.
Using stable coins to send humanitarian aid
The complicated political and economic situation in Venezuela has led to thinking about solutions from different approaches in order to overcome some of the difficulties raised. In the midst of this scenario, blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies in particular have come to the fore.
Nicolás Maduro isn’t the only performance factor who has seen cryptocurrencies as an option for advancement. Juan Guaidó, President of the National Assembly, recognized by several countries as the responsible President of Venezuela and one of the main opponents of Maduro himself, has introduced the use of the USDC stablecoin to evade the blockades imposed by the Nicolás administration and to achieve humanitarian Sending help to Venezuelans.
The funds used by Guaidó come from seizures made by the US authorities on the bank accounts that Venezuelan state-owned companies and various officials in Nicolás Maduro’s cabinet run in the United States, implying that this humanitarian aid is the first public funds in the world being turned into stable coins.
Opinions within the ecosystem
To learn a little more about the reality being felt in the crypto ecosystem in Venezuela, we spoke to some of the key players involved in the various events that set the tone for the year to take advantage of and to ask. “How was 2020 for the crypto ecosystem in Venezuela?”.
Jorge Farías, CEO Cryptobuyer
The global and local situation has led businesses and individuals to look for payment alternatives that do not require any interaction or physical presence of people thanks to the pandemic that has seen the use of cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin exponentially, which is an extremely useful, secure mechanism that does not require physical contact unlike a debit or credit card. The number of inquiries at our Cryptobuyer Pay point of sale has exploded in terms of inquiries, reaching a record of nearly 100 new merchants per week. This, in addition to the increase in international wire transfers coming in on this type of digital asset, has made it a current form of payment that we positioned at around 0.5% of total payments in Venezuela at the end of 2019, including All means of payment, and by the end of 2020 we will already set them to around 3%. This includes traditional forms of payment such as debit cards, credit, and international payment systems such as cell.
So even though this is still a small number, shows the steady growth of cryptocurrency operations. These two things, these two factors are what make the use and adoption of cryptocurrencies as a means of payment in Venezuela a reality and it is no longer just a theory or something aspiring and it becomes a really effective solution.
At Cryptobuyer we have invested a lot of effort, economic investments and personnel. We have expanded our support staff in order to have an ever easier, faster, but above all safe and economical experience for the general public.
Our next steps are to expand our retail chains thanks to the great alliances we have forged with Mega Soft and to reach world class stores like the recently announced Pizza Hut and hotel chains. It is also very important to highlight the inclusion of tourism as an alternative mechanism to be able to reactivate such an important industry in Venezuela and where chambers of tourism across the country use our solutions because they help improve their cash flow and not it has the cost of that Integration into its traditional mechanisms.
Ernesto Contreras, Head of Business Development at the Dash Core Group
In 2020, Venezuela repeated the behavior we saw around the world due to the huge impact that Covid19 had on a human, economic and social level: The digital world grew and boomed, but the offline world stalled for a few weeks and then slowly began again under a “new normal”.
At the beginning of the year, thanks to the process that we advanced in our alliance with Cryptobuyer and Megasoft, We predicted that Dash’s adoption would grow to at least a dozen national networksBut this process was completely stopped from March to around July when work began under the new dynamic of Covid.
However, During this time we have seen the delivery offers that work in a 100% digital environment have grownand some like Dingo, Piido, and others have come together to accept dash and cryptocurrencies. Additionally, Dash was effectively added to Localcrypto in the third quarter, which is why there are ever better opportunities across the country to swap Dash for Bolívares.
In total, Despite the immense difficulties brought by the coronavirus, the crypto ecosystem continued to reach major milestones in Venezuela in 2020. This contributed to a global environment that is becoming increasingly digital and showing a positive trend for cryptocurrencies in the world has opened more doors of great importance for the growth, adoption and use of dash and cryptocurrencies.
Javier Bastardo, host of Satoshi in Venezuela
Venezuela continues to be one of the most active P2P stock exchanges. There are some reports that speak of a figure per capitaWhile personally I don’t like the per capita numbers because they are outside of local reality, but in general there is still the narrative of continued acceptance and volume, we have not yet hit the exchange numbers for 2017. Obviously, the FOMO and the Actors who occurred at the time not having jumped directly with the wave of Fomo that came with the All Time High that broke, so it stays the same but with different things.
Another element to highlight is the great interest that despite the pandemic there are still ways to pay directly with cryptoWhat if you are using Bitcoin, you are probably not that interested in paying direct, but suddenly in a cryptocurrency that is faster to some extent, with all the credits that that implies. All of a sudden, people using this type of cryptocurrency may be more interested in it Well, this idea of payments plus sustained adoption, in this case in terms of the volume of exchange and the interest that it gives, is an interesting combination to make this option too deepen. I can imagine that this trend will continue in 2021.
They have finally started seeing new actors, new agents I don’t know if necessarily the 2020 generation, but maybe they already had time in the crypto ecosystem and had not fully entered the voices of the community, but that has also increased so there are new and there are more visible actors within the community.
This would be like the triad I see of the crypto ecosystem in Venezuela this year.
Aníbal Garrido, CEO AnibalCripto
From the new digital mining regulator regulations, to the first country in Latam with a BTC satellite node, to a host of high-performing companies flying the crypto-usability flag, Venezuela has been part of major contributions to ecosystem development during this 2020.
The difficult situation of COVID19 left us with a great learning: NO dependence on physical presence for the harmonious development of ourselves as a society. Here, members of the crypto ecosystem have made Bitcoin, without fear of restrictions of restriction, using their Mai to cut their reason in half to bring outstanding posts to Venezuela, such as its first node with 100% satellite connectivity, promoting communities on YouTube and other social networks for the continued growth of crypto education. On the other hand, moving away from the controversial 084-2020 decision makes our country a mandatory reference in crypto-asset legislation for the continent, but I also think one of the most notable developments has been the integration of payment interfaces in crypto in gigantic mass consumption chains as well Accelerated development of integrations for the fast and secure exchange of crypto and fiat thanks to the private initiative of various companies in the crypto-finance sector. 2020 will depart with a weakened COVID19 but with a strengthened and better educated crypto community, or at least more receptive to the advances in the benefits of technology that comes with cryptocurrencies.
Mariangel García, Community Manager Binance Spanish
2020 was a year of transformation for everyone, and Venezuela was no exception. If we look on the positive side, all Venezuelans have been pulled out of our comfort zone, companies have been forced to start a digital transformation, and now many users can see how many options there are that weren’t there before this situation. That is why I am proud of the versatility of many entrepreneurs and business people who have decided to continue their proposals and innovate.
In the crypto space, interest has increased which has resulted in new users and volumes. Binance’s P2P platform has grown 2400% in Venezuela since May. In terms of monthly trade users, it has increased by an average of 407% since the pandemic began, which means that thousands of Venezuelans in our region have found financial freedom for products with no restrictions.
In addition, our BUSD and BNB coins are already accepted as a payment method in important companies and their branches.
Venezuela is the only country in Latin America with a broad vision for adopting crypto, which is a good place to start.