As Venezuelans have struggled to survive the pandemic during times of dictatorship, the crypto company Circle collaborated last year with the countries’ opposition to financially aid healthcare workers who were abandoned to a broken-down system with almost no proper medical equipment and a discouraging $15 a month salary.
Today $1 equals 45,000,000,000,000,000 bolivars –although it has been devalued to look like 4,5 VES–, a cipher too large to comprehend, much like the general panorama. Although the monthly basic food allowance is more than $300, minimum wages are approximately $7 and many doctors make as much as $15 per months.
Financial Times published a report where they describe the methods used by the interim president to bypass the Maduro regime’s tight grip that would not allow citizens to receive any type of external aid.
As Gideon Long’s report remembers, the U.S. sanctions on Venezuela had made the situation worse for its citizens with the state funds frozen in U.S bank accounts, but the politicians who oppose the government –with Guaidó recognized by Washington as Venezuela’s legitimate president– found leverage in that by managing to access the accounts after convincing the US Treasury of doing so.
But how would they get the money to the health carers’ hands if the government was extremely against it? Legitimized or not, Venezuela is still under Maduro’s control, so the banks were not a possibility, but stablecoins were. During the bumpy road, the crypto era opened a pathway that wouldn’t have been there a decade ago.
Circle, U.S.–based fintech innovator Airtm and Juan Guaido’s team collaborated in what they claim to be the first “use of stablecoins for foreign aid“, the “only viable option available”.
Circle says on its website: “we were able to put in place an aid disbursement pipeline that leveraged the power of USDC — dollar-backed, open, internet-based digital currency payments — to bypass the controls imposed by Maduro over the domestic financial system and put millions of dollars of funds into the hands of people fighting for the health and safety of the people of Venezuela.”
Maduro’s regime did its best to block the Airtm platform, where healthcare workers would receive the aid, but Guaidó’s team published a guide on how to use the Canadian company TunnelBear’s VPN, which provided free services for a while.
Although many Venezuelans believe the situation is the same for both sides, there are some landmarks that show how the crypto era can help in times of crisis. It’s not all about the market, it’s also about freedom.
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Cryptocurrency: The Impacts
Venezuela fell into deeper despair as the nationmen were already suffering from a terrible situation. Because the regime covers up the death to look better, it is impossible to trace the exact number of deaths. We are only left with the voiceless voices of their victims.
Guillermo Herrera Gallo was one of those who received the bonus. He is a Venezuelan physician that works at the Red Cross. He made comments to newsBTC about his personal experience regarding the financial aid through the decay of Venezuela’s health system.
Herrera said that the aid didn’t make much of a difference for the lives of doctors, but he did see relief in the eyes of nurses who could finally afford a better meal and supplies for their children. The platform and method used by Herrera were extremely beneficial in preventing a devaluation of national currencies that would have no effect and he was happy with the feeling that AirTM gives him.
Circle adds that this event remarks “the freedom of people to transact, even in the face of brutal dictatorships. The historic moment also signifies the turning to stablecoins by political and economic leaders in pursuit of foreign aid targets. ”
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