Trying to counter inflation with its own cryptocurrency, Venezuela has been promoting its stablecoin Petro, for quite sometime now. Although the government encourages locals to adopt Petro more than any other cryptocurrency, an alternative solution to inflation, bitcoin, has been made accessible. Now, Venezuelans can easily buy bitcoin with the help of the country’s first-ever bitcoin ATM, installed in San Antonio del Táchira.
The American firm Panda BTM, installed the ATM in a convenient store, named ‘Viajes e Inversiones HC’, located in the city. Following the installation, people can now access several cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Dash, Pesos and bolivars, the official currency of Venezuela.
The nearest bitcoin ATM available to locals is across the Columbian border. As the ATM across the border was only convenient for people living nearby, the bitcoin ATM set by Panda BTM has substantially facilitated Venezuelans.
In the past, several attempts were made to install a bitcoin ATM in Venezuela but they all went in vain. The company Cryptobuyer, planned to install bitcoin ATM in the city of Caracas however, due to unknown reasons the company was unable to implement its plan.
While Venezuela just had its first bitcoin ATM, its immediate neighbor, Columbia, is expanding the network of bitcoin ATMs as well and at present, Columbia has the largest number of bitcoin ATMs installed. A few weeks ago, Paxful joined forces with CoinLogiq to expand the network of bitcoin ATMs. Consequently, 20 new bitcoin ATMs will be installed in Columbia.
Venezuelan official currency bolivars depreciated to great extents and the country has been facing severe economic crisis. Under these circumstances, the bitcoin adoption is booming and a few months ago, bitcoin trading in the country reached a new high.
Bitcoin was introduced to the world over a decade ago, after the economic recession of 2008. Since then, the world’s first cryptocurrency disrupted the financial system of the world. Unlike fiat currencies that are controlled by governments and central banks, bitcoin is the world’s truly decentralized digital currency. This means that the crypto is not under the influence of any centralized authority or organization. Unlike fiat currencies that can be manipulated by governments, bitcoin price is dependent only on the fundamentals of supply and demand.
Although bitcoin offers a variety of advantages over Petro, the Venezuelan president, Nicolas Maduro is focused on promoting nations own cryptocurrency, Petro. and previously, Maduro asked banks to support the initiative. Furthermore, he even ordered the Bank of Venezuela (Banco de Venezuela) to accept the national cryptocurrency.
In the past, U.S. put sanctions on Venezuela and prohibited all Americans from using Petro while making financial settlements. U.S authorities believed that Venezuela was trying to evade sanctions with Petro took therefore, they took necessary steps to null and void the crypto. However, as bitcoin do not belong to any country, company or organization, authorities were unable to take any similar steps against bitcoin. This shows that the state’s own crypto can’t compete with the world’s decentralized and largest cryptocurrency by market cap, bitcoin.
Bitcoin’s decentralized trait makes it more favorable than Petro but the volatile nature of bitcoin can’t be ignored. Bitcoin has been struggling to evolve as a medium of exchange due to bitcoin price, since its inception. The digital asset climbing to its all-time high at one instant, has a rapport to drop down to the ground in a in a very short period of time. Therefore, one downside of bitcoin is its extremely unpredictable nature.
Developments in the crypto space are ongoing on a daily basis while also paving way for mass crypto adoption. Recently, a crypto ATM startup, Coinme secured $1.5 million investment for growth and expansion of its network of crypto ATMs. The concentration of bitcoin ATMs varies from country to country but the U.S. has about 2600 ATMs, whereas Venezuela recently managed its first. Let’s see if companies like Coinme can open more bitcoin ATMs in countries like Venezuela to ease crypto access.