For those who remain in Venezuela – an oil-rich country crippled by a socialist despot – the situation is getting worse. The number of people sleeping on the streets is rising, as are the hunger, poverty, and desperation levels.
Just when cryptocurrencies looked to be providing a ray of hope, the lights suddenly went out. Rolling blackouts across the country left many unable to complete their transactions. Dash Text was the only payment method that didn’t stop working when everything else went dark.
Cryptocurrency in Venezuela
A scarcity of bolivar notes, an inflation rate like nothing else on earth, limits imposed on transactions, and a ban on foreign currency means workers are struggling to put food on the table. Even if their take-home pay hasn’t been entirely devalued by the end of the day, they can’t physically get hold of the cash they need to pay for the public transport home.
The situation is disastrous, causing many to flee into neighbouring Colombia or further afield just to feed their children.
Against such a desperate panorama, cryptocurrency in Venezuela has been casting a lifeline to many. Localbitocins volume has shown an incredible spike in Venezuelans trying to shield their wealth and make payments.
Bitcoin may be volatile, but not when you compare it to a national currency devalued by 95% from one day to the next, and an inflation rate of over 1,000,000%.
Among the cryptocurrencies better known in Venezuela are Bitcoin, Petro, and Dash. But Petro is run by the same people causing this crisis, so how could anyone trust using that? Bitcoin has provided a good option for many, but transactions can be slow. When you have to wait even 10 minutes for confirmation in Venezuela, the price has already changed.
The growing role of Dash Text
Dash has been seeing remarkable results in Venezuela with continued merchant adoption. But the project knew it had to do more. In the US, almost 80% of the population owns a smartphone. In Venezuela, it’s nothing near that amount, yet pretty much every citizen owns a mobile phone of some kind. This means that Dash Text, a solution that allows people to send payments by text message, has been gaining traction.
Dash Text’s CTO and founder Lorenzo Rey commented:
“There are approximately 30 million people in Venezuela, and at least 32 million mobile phones activated as per 2014 statistics. As you can see, the big barrier was smartphones, not mobile phones. Basically, everyone who lives in an urban area in Venezuela has some form of mobile phone.”
When the country’s last hope all but went out with the lights and Bitcoin transactions failed, Dash Text was the only provider to stay up without the need of the internet.
Dash Text is launching Dash Charity
Now, Dash is stepping up its efforts further across this ravaged country. The team behind Dash Text is launching a charity programme which may be the first-ever distributed charity system. It works by instantly and evenly distributing donations to the end recipients’ phone wallets. These are then used to buy food and other necessities.
The pilot of this programme is currently being run in a Catholic school in Venezuela. Here, many of the students go without food because they can’t afford it. Dash Charity allows anyone anywhere in the world to instantly enable them to buy food. It removes the middleman issue with charities where you have to trust non-profit workers to actually get the funds to the end recipient.
“We want to expand our programme to reach not only schools, but hospitals and other institutions, as well as segregated communities to be able to receive charitable donations,” says Rey.
The technology is still in need of scaling. Currently, the Dash Charity programme can provide meals, but transaction amounts are small. He explains:
“We want to scale our technology to be able to receive bigger donations as well so that a big donor can send a large amount and have it automatically distributed amongst thousands of people in different communities. There are many applications for this system, and it completely changes the way you think of charity. We are very excited to scale it up!”
Cryptocurrencies like Dash may not be reaching every one of Venezuela’s needy, but Rey is on a quest to try.
“It is important to put things in context and be realistic. Many people don’t seem to understand that crypto in the whole world is still tiny. Amazon alone is worth a lot more than the entire crypto space.”
Even with that being the case, Venezuela is still miles ahead of most countries. It has some of the highest trading volumes, hash rates, awareness, merchant adoption, and real-world use cases in the world.
“The crypto revolution here is happening and the evidence speaks by itself, and Venezuela is the country with the highest chance of scaling crypto to levels closer to the fiat markets. We are working to make that happen.”
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author should not be considered as financial advice. We do not give advice on financial products.