Crypto fanatics have been asking for a long time, when will this technology reach mass adoption? However, for many years the situation wasn't ripe. Bitcoin wasn't user-friendly enough, it was hard for non-techy newbies to get involved, and they didn't have an incentive. That seems to be changing, with Dash helping merchants and users get involved, giving the people of Venezuela a new tool to improve their situation during a crisis. Watch the episode below.
Economic situation in Venezuela
Venezuela has a lot of problems right now, many of them caused by too much control exerted by the state, one key problem being hyperinflation. I've seen the inflation of the Bolívar reported variously as 2500% pa, 6000%, even 1,000,000% per year. When I first started following the Bolívar, it was around 20 Bs to the dollar. When the Bolívar Fuerte was revalued and replaced, the exchange rate was 800,000 Bs to the dollar. The highest denomination was the 100 Bs, so people had to carry bales of cash.
Another piece in this puzzle is the fact that the Venezuelan government came up with their own cryptocurrency, the Petro - supposedly backed by Venezuelan petroleum - and ran propaganda campaigns all over the country promoting it. That means that millions of people all over the country now have exposure to the idea, and so they're willing to hear more.
Then we have Dash, a crypto project with a focus on user experience and a large treasury which can be used to fund any project the community decides will increase the value of the network. Over the last year, with cryptocurrency getting more popular, certain prominent coins saw their fees and transaction times increase. However, Dash fees got lower and transaction speeds remained around 3 seconds, fast enough for consumer use - and the Dash core team has a plan to continue scaling, retaining those key elements of useability.
In Venezuela, the Dash treasury funded a call centre to help people set up wallets, monthly conferences in Caracas, among other projects to get the word out, and it worked. Discover Dash lists over 1000 retailers in Venezuela - restaurants, real estate agents, accountants, and it seems there are many more small retailers which aren't listed, food trucks and stalls in Caracas and Maracay.
Obviously there are still challenges ahead, such as smartphone penetration, and funding problems. The monthly conferences were funded when Dash was $800, now closer to $200, so they have a lot less funding. But it seems Dash and crypto are becoming a part of Venezuelan culture. Caracas may already be the crypto capital of the world.
Thank you so much for listening to Cryptonomics, and thank you for sharing this with your friends. I'll be making more pieces on this subject, but if you want more info in the meantime I recommend Rodrigo Ambrissa's 30 minute documentary Venezuela and the Cryptocurrency Revolution, Eric Sammon's article The Cryptocurrency Dream, Revived, and my piece from 2017 about How Dash may achieve mass adoption before Bitcoin.
You can listen to the episode on Anchor and other podcasting services here: Cryptonomics - Dash saves Venezuela from Collapse?. Or watch on YouTube below: