A few weeks ago, we discussed the coder who sought to develop a state cryptocurrency for Venezuela, and his showdown with the dictator, Maduro. Cryptocurrency in general and Bitcoin specifically has quite a stronghold in what is thought of as the less-developed world, for it is often far more stable than local currencies. This is certainly the case in Venezuela, where individuals can now use Bitcoin to pay for an array of goods and services at over 20,000 point-of-sale (PoS) terminals. Some of Venezuela’s most prevalent retailers were hooked into Bitcoin through a deal between Cryptobuyer, a Panamanian crypto exchange, and Mega Soft, a local payment processor. Using Mega Soft’s Merchant Server platform, these retailers will now process payments in BTC, finance coin, day, dash, ether, tether, and XPT, which is Cryptobuyer’s native token. This covers quite a bit of retail traffic, as Mega Soft processes approximately 18 million transactions per month in Venezuela alone. Once this deal goes live (in all likelihood, in June), after payment is made in cryptocurrency, merchants can either convert the funds into fiat or hold on to crypto in their digital asset accounts with Cryptobuyer’s exchange. Bigger names such as Samsung, Burger King, and Traki Stores have already been accepting cryptocurrency payments through Cryptobuyer in Venezuela, but other large business to have now signed on include pharmaceutical group Farmatodo, the supermarket chain Central Madeirense, EPA Hardware, Plawa’s Automercados, a movie theater, and a number of other retailers. In the two years that Traki has accepted crypto payments, it has handled a little over one thousand of them.
Cryptobuyer CEO Jorge Farias has expressed hopes to integrate around 100,000 merchants in wider South America and Europe by the end of 2020. With the economic upheaval and instability of many currencies due to the worldwide coronavirus crisis, cryptocurrency is seen as becoming even more widely relied upon and accepted. As it gains popularity among various state of populations, merchant can only benefit from accepting more diverse forms of payment.
In its seventh year of economic contraction, Venezuela has a rate of inflation right under 3,000% just this year, which has rendered the Bolivar effectively useless. Though the Petro, its state cryptocurrency was a supposed answer to Venezuela’s woes, it was sanctioned by the US immediately and US citizens were banned from transacting in it.