Bitcoin is one of the latest technological phenomenons taking the world by storm. While it has been making long strides towards becoming an accepted form of currency by the global community, it is still largely misunderstood.
Many are under the impression that Bitcoin is only used by criminals to fund their illegal enterprises. While Bitcoin does serve this purpose, as the Silk Road crackdown certainly shows, this assertion couldn’t be further from the truth. It is this myth that inspired Reddit user 858graphics to share his story.
Nestled on the northeastern coast of South America lies the country of Venezeula, the home of 858graphics’ family. For those who aren’t aware, Venezuela has been in a severe state of political turmoil for the last few years. Here are the cliff notes of the situation as given by 858graphics…
1.An incredible incompetent socialist government took power.
2. They created strict currency controls that made it impossible for people to buy goods in anything other that their local currency. If you owned a business and needed to import something from overseas you needed the governments approval to exchange the local currency to US dollars
3. This made running a business almost impossible. To operate you had to buy US dollars on a black market or bribe a government official to exchange currency.
4. When oil prices dropped the government quickly ran out of money causing expected inflation of 1800% in 2017
According to 858graphics, around 2014 is when things started to get “really bad.” At the time his father owned a lucrative air conditioning repair business, however he sensed an economic depression was near. So he and his family started making preparations to weather the incoming storm.
“We came up with a plan,” 858graphics says, “to open a US bank account and convert bolivers (Venezuelan currency) into US dollars so we would be protected from inflation. We quickly ran into logistical problems physically getting and safely transporting the money out of the country.”
Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, is one of the most violent cities in the world. Carjackings and robberies are an everyday occurrence.
“The airport police are corrupt and just as likely to rob you and the money can’t be put in the local bank because you aren’t allowed to have dollars,” he says
Because of these kinds of adverse conditions, they had to devise a new strategy.
Turning the hands of time to 2017, 858graphics flatly states that the Venezuelan economy is dead. His father lost his business and other Venezuelans who were once middle and upper class citizens can’t afford food. Though day-to-day life is still very much a struggle, Bitcoin, he says, is keeping them afloat.
Below are his words concerning Bitcoin, taken directly from his original post…
Now consider how big the Venezuelan economy is and that other countries like Brazil and Argentina are also experiencing similar problems. If citizens converted only a small amount of their savings into bitcoins this would represent an incredible amount of money.
Bitcoin can give anyone the ability to trade freely and protect themselves finically against corrupt and incompetent governments. In a world of 6 billion people, most of which have no access or are ineligible for basic banking services and an increasing number of governments apposing free speech and basic human rights Bitcoin might not be the perfect hero we want but it’s what we need.
So in summary Bitcoin is used by criminals the same way cash is used by criminals. If you take one step back you’ll realize that the possible legitimate uses for Bitcoin are far greater than the black market can ever be.