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Venezuelans seeing bitcoin boom as survival, not speculation

Published: December 15, 2017
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Source: News.Au.Com

IN THE last month, John Villar has bought two plane tickets to Colombia, purchased his wife’s medication and paid the employees of his start-up business in Venezuela — all in bitcoin.

As Venezuela’s national currency loses value at a catastrophic rate, thousands have begun turning to the world of cryptocurrency to salvage what little value remains from their increasingly worthless bolivars.

“This is not a matter of politics,” Villar said. “This is a matter of survival.”

Both poor Venezuelan retirees and wealthy business leaders are converting local currency into bitcoins online and then using the digital currency to pay for everything from doctor appointments and honeymoons to motorcycles and artisan beer. The transactions are relatively swift for anyone with a smartphone — websites like LocalBitcoins and Colibit function as exchanges where Venezuelans can buy and sell bitcoins using a local bank account.

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