Venezuela’s New Interim President Says Yes to Bitcoin, Big No to Petro

Jan 25, 2019 at 16:45 Update Date :Jan 25, 2019 at 16:45 UTC

Juan Guaidó, opposition leader of the Venezuelan parliament, is the new (interim) president of Venezuela. Guaidó administered a public oath on January 23, 2019, officially declaring himself as the country’s president.

The big news, however, might not be his ascent to the country’s highest seat of power but his ideologies as the Venezuelan president has been very vocal in his promotion of Bitcoin in a country on the brink of economic breakdown.

Bitcoin: An Unlikely Saviour

Due to the crippling economic conditions in Venezuela, many citizens have switched to bitcoin as it allows them to escape hyperinflation.

It would not be wrong to say that the new president has been the biggest promoter of Bitcoin in the country since 2014. In fact, it was Guaidó, who announced via Twitter the opening of Plataforma Sur Bitcoin, the country’s first Bitcoin exchange.

Opened in August 2014, this exchange provided bitcoins to citizens in lieu of bolivars, the Venezuelan currency.

The country has seen an upward trend in Bitcoin transactions for some years now. This climb has further sloped up in the past few weeks, mainly because of two factors- political instability and further disintegration of the country’s economy, driving Bitcoin trade volumes to new highs on peer-to-peer trading platform LocalBitcoins.

Petro A Big No For Guaidó

Bitcoin’s only unlikely competitor in Venezuela remains Petro, a cryptocurrency that was introduced in February 2018 by then president Nicolas Maduro to stabilize the economy. The government planned to control the cryptocurrency with Venezuelan oil and mineral reserves.

Guaidó has also fought against establishing of Petro as he thinks it was Maduro’s government’s scheme to dupe the Venezuelan people.

The president would also view his new role as win on the personal front as experts believe that Bitcoin trading volumes will only go up from this point forth. The government is also likely to open more facilities to trade cryptocurrencies in the coming months, with the country’s first Bitcoin ATM to all set to be installed next week.

Guaidó’s claim as the country’s (interim) president has been recognized by the Trump (U.S.) administration followed by the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Paraguay, Peru, Ecuador, and Guatemala.

Also Read: Venezuela Forcing Pensioners’ Money into State Issued Petro, Say Reports

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