The first picture that comes to anyone’s mind when you say ‘Venezuela’ is not of lush greenery or its abundant cultural diversity, but that of thousands of Bolivar notes strewn on the streets of Caracas, the capital city of the Nicolas Maduro-led country. Keeping in mind the issues within the country, Bitcoin Interest [BCI], a relatively unknown cryptocurrency organization, has taken the onus of helping the people of Venezuela.
The reason why the financial ecosystem of the South American country has become so deplorable is because of its astronomical hyperinflation rate, a grotesque figure even when compared to that of the Great Depression. The hope that the citizens of the country had in the fiat monetary system has long since eroded because of the lack of any positive developments and the declining quality of life.
The government, for its part, had chosen to go the route of cryptocurrencies to bypass the economic crunch which led to the creation of Petro, the state government-supported cryptocurrency. The idea of establishing a state-backed cryptocurrency first came into the picture in February 2018 when Nicolas Maduro, the incumbent President, was forced to devise a solution to save the plunging economy.
More than a year since the release of Petro, the state of the economy has only dwindled, highlighting the failure of Petro. Sources speculate many reasons for Petro’s downfall, ranging from the absence of 60 million barrels of oil that were supposed to give value to Petro, to reports of rampant corruption within the government as well as the PDVSA, the state-owned petroleum organization. In this dark and gloomy atmosphere, one story has emerged from within the country and has managed to instill some hope in the citizens of Venezuela.
Reports from Bitcoin Interest [BCI], a competitive staking cryptocurrency, have revealed that the team behind the organization has been using Bitcoin to provide some sort of a relief to crisis-struck Venezuelans. The company laid the foundation for this philanthropic movement by kick-starting a hashtag #FoodNotLambos, a play on words on the hashtag #Lambo, which was seen as a symbol for when people reap massive rewards on their cryptocurrency investments.
BCI stated that because of the difficulty in carrying resources across the border, employees pooled in money and sent it across as Bitcoin to an official within the country. This money was then converted to fiat currency by ‘Carlos,’ and used to purchase essentials like food and water. The report from BCI stated,
“We quickly developed a plan with Carlos to send him the Bitcoin and have him purchase everything he could from local markets and stores. We managed to find local vendors who we informed of our plans and they were so happy to hear of our efforts. They offered us amazing discounts on items to further our funds even more. By the time it was all said and done we ended up with 5000kg (11023 lbs) of chicken and 7500kg (16534 lbs) of rice and corn flour. Enough chickens were purchased for each person in the town.”
The organization has also claimed that ‘Carlos’ was able to gather a group of like-minded people who wanted to do their part in transporting the commodities to the people in need. BCI also informed users that the process of moving all the collected goods was completed over the course of 8-9 April, with the intervention of government agents who wanted to inquire if the food trucks from BCI were funded by the United States government. The involvement of the US government in the philanthropic efforts would have thrown a spanner in the works as the Venezuelan government is embroiled in clashes with Donald Trump, on the issues of trade tariffs and sanctions
BCI’s humanitarian efforts were lauded on social media platforms, with some impressed users even planning to start a ‘Carlos for Mayor’ campaign. BCI, the cryptocurrency, was formed after a hard fork off Bitcoin in January 2018 and was even listed on Bitfinex, a popular cryptocurrency exchange.
Since then, BCI has not been adopted by the masses. It has been mired in several controversies that pegged it to be a scam or some sort of a Ponzi scheme. The bear market has not been kind to the cryptocurrency, trading at $0.131, a far cry from its peak of $23.04. Even though the cryptocurrency is reeling in terms of value, the organization’s efforts in Venezuela are worth a spotlight and a standing ovation.
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