Venezuelan migrants are using Bitcoin for remittances

In 2018, Deimer González packed his university diploma, clothes and a mobile wallet with 1.5 BTC in savings and left Venezuela. What was developed throughout 2019 offers a microcosm for Venezuelan bitcoin users worldwide.

As a mechanical engineer from Caracas, previously employed by the state-owned oil and natural gas company of Venezuela (PDVSA), González told CoinDesk that those same savings allowed him to support his parents when he began to build a new life in Buenos Aires, Argentina .

He also said the following: “I could always return the money thanks to my savings, saving my salary in pesos.”

With an estimated $ 3.7 billion in remittances sent in 2019, foreign money is a growing source of income for Venezuelan families. As such, bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have assumed a more important role in facilitating cross-border transactions.

In addition, migrants are using cryptography during the relocation process, as it is often difficult for unemployed immigrants to access financial services in their new countries.

Such is the case of Wolfang Barrios, a trader from Caracas who told CoinDesk about his experience arriving in Chile without savings in local currency. Reported the following, Neighborhoods:

    “I didn’t have a stable job, enough money or a bank account. I could send remittances only using cryptography.”

Also, keeping a family in Venezuela is not easy, even with dollars. In May, Venezuelan economist Luis Oliveros placed the cost of living in the country as high as $ 900 per month for a family of five, with a basic food basket that costs approximately $ 300 per month. In context, the minimum wage in Venezuela is currently equivalent to $ 15 per month, although economists suspect that this rate will not last long.

In the case of Gonzalez, neither his previous monthly salary of $ 5 as a PDVSA worker nor his bitcoin remittances does not offer enough to support his family.

“Now I send $ 50 in bitcoins and it’s still nothing,” he said, adding that his parents must work to support themselves, with no plans to move from Venezuela. “

The remittance business

Perhaps due to all these challenges, crypto remittance companies could begin to flourish in Venezuela.

One of those entrepreneurs, who asked to be identified only by his first name, Jesus, works for the Peru-Venezuela Remittances remittance platform.

“We receive between $ 200,000 and $ 300,000 per month,” he said, explaining how the platform currently exchanges pesos for bitcoin, and then be exchanged for bolivars in Venezuela.

As a result, payment processing from fiat to crypto is a lucrative business in Venezuela.

According to the Migration and Immigration Police of Peru, the country is the second option for Venezuelan immigrants, with more than 865,000 arrivals to date. Even the government of Nicolás Maduro recently launched its own remittance platform, which uses blockchain-based Petro (PTR).

As for Jesus, he said that the trick to exchange at the best pace is to use direct contacts:

    “LocalBitcoins is about 3 percent more expensive than using my own contacts.”

Here is the trap

However, for many of these bitcoin users, crypto payments are simply a last resort.

A daily inflation rate of 3 percent and the constant devaluation of the bolivar have made the bitcoin exchange very useful for those living in Venezuela. But in other parts of Latin America, some bitcoin users prefer to use fiat as soon as the situation is sustainable.

Mariluna De La Concha, a Venezuelan crypto defender who lives in Mexico, told CoinDesk that she sent crypto remittances to her family from 2016 to early 2019. Now she only sends pesos to her mother.

“It is not convenient to exchange cryptography,” he said. “In Venezuela it has a good value due to inflation, but it is very expensive for me from here.”

His choice to use these expensive but compliant exchange platforms was also a matter of security. Fraud cases have been reported anonymously in Venezuelan private chats, where US bank accounts of Venezuelan users are reported and blocked after a transaction. All due to the unilateral sanctions of the US

An anonymous source told CoinDesk that there is even a suspicion that government police are tracking exchange platform transactions to extort bitcoin users. This is biased information since the Venezuelan state is conducting transactions in bitcoin, in order to evade the unilateral sanctions of the US.

For González, the mechanical engineer who fled in 2018, the situation led him to change and send fiat currency home. Gonzalez said:

     “I am now a bitcoin holder.”

The financial problems of Venezuelans are solving them with a lot of creativity, blockchain-bitcoin technology has helped them a lot.


Disclaimer: This press release is for informational purposes information does not constitute investment advice or an offer to invest. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of infocoin, and should not be attributed to, Infocoin.

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