In Venezuela’s capital city of Caracas, a hungry mob recently broke into a zoo to eat a horse. One cause of the food crisis is government currency controls that make it very expensive to buy goods from other countries. But Venezuelans are bypassing these restrictions using the internet-based currency bitcoin.
And there are similar phenomena in neighboring countries. Bitcoin is catching on especially fast in Latin America because it gives individuals a way around protectionism and other destructive government policies that are common in the region. Here are three ways that bitcoin is promoting economic freedom in Latin America.
1. Bypassing Monetary Controls
Rodrigo Souza is a U.S.-based entrepreneur and the founder of BlinkTrade, which operates the exchange for SurBitcoin, an online marketplace where Venezuelans buy and sell government-issued bolivars for bitcoins. SurBitcoin’s monthly trade volume has tripled in the last year alone as more and more Venezuelans have started using bitcoin.
An advantage of bitcoin is that while the government regulates and restricts the flow of money in and out of the country through the banking system, bitcoin circumvents the banks because it’s an internet based currency.
And now a growing community of Venezuelans are using their bitcoins to buy