Guest post and infographic by Tom Alford
Bitcoin exploded into the mainstream at the end of 2017, driven by a massive amount of millennial hype. After months in a bear market, the excited chatter about Bitcoin has subsided. However, that could change very soon if an ETF is approved and if institutional money floods into the cryptocurrency markets.
Bitcoin spent months right in the centre of the media spotlight. A key question is: which countries currently have the highest levels of Bitcoin adoption and what does this tell us about how Bitcoin may be used in the future? TotalCrypto.io has done an independent study looking at just this question and have analysed Bitcoin trading volume broken down by country.
It is widely reported that the global economy is suffering. Countries like Venezuela are experiencing some of the worst hyperinflation since Zimbabwe or the Weimar Republic. Indeed, the IMF projects that Venezuelan inflation will hit one million percent in 2018 alone. The problem in Venezuela gets even worse once you consider that capital controls are restricting ATM cash withdrawals to just $1 per day. It’s not surprising that this rapid destruction of purchasing power has led to many going hungry and doing what they can to survive.
The Bitcoin trading volumes show that Venezuelans are increasingly turning to Bitcoin to preserve what little wealth they have left and to circumvent oppressive capital controls. That’s why Venezuela now has the fourth highest trading volume in the world for Bitcoin. This statistic is even more remarkable when you consider the difference in wealth between Venezuela and the ‘rest of Europe’ (which report lower trading volumes).
Venezuela certainly seems to show that in times of financial Armageddon and when citizens lose faith in their governments’ currency, that people turn to Bitcoin as a safe haven. Maybe cryptocurrency is not just a speculative asset after all? How much faith do you have in your own country’s currency? If you see hard times ahead, then maybe getting some Bitcoin is not such a bad idea.