Crypto May Be the Future of Humanitarian Aid
By John Bogna
A video from San Cristóbal, Venezuela, dated March 2019 shows a never-ending line of people waiting on the street. They are all waiting, the narrator tells us, for their turn at the bank, hoping to withdraw money to buy food and goods before hyperinflation drives the value of Venezuela’s currency further into the dirt.
Venezuela’s political and economic crisis has been escalating since 2010. President Nicolas Maduro’s refusal to declare a state of national emergency means aid groups can’t intervene on the people’s behalf, and in February 2019 the government began to block shipments of supplies donated by U.S.-backed aid groups. Maduro feared the supplies would foster favor toward the U.S. and the leader it had recognized as legitimate in his place, Juan Guaido.
Many Venezuelan citizens have tried to leave the country, some hiding rolls of dollars in their hair to keep it from being stolen at the border. Venezuelans need a way to access the world economic marketplace that bypasses the regime’s control, a way to attain a degree of financial independence. And for some citizens of Venezuela, help has arrived in the form of bitcoin.
Photo courtesy of Kevin Keith.