Category Archives: Coinbase

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Virginia Police Retirement Fund Sets Sights on Bitcoin with $11 Million Investment

Part of a police retirement fund in Fairfax County Virginia is to be invested in the cryptocurrency industry as part of a plan to allocate money towards safe investments.

The allocation of retirement funds will be invested through Morgan Creek who will use the fund to invest in companies such as Coinbase and Bakkt, among others. Morgan Creek, which invests in blockchain companies, is to use USD 40 million from the two Fairfax county pension plans and other institutions.

The Virginia retirement system has invested USD 21 million into the fund with USD 10 million coming from the county’s employee’s retirement fund (0.3% of total assets) and USD 11 million from a police retirement fund (0.8% of total assets). This meant just under 1% of total assets were dedicated to cryptocurrency ventures. In the opinions of Fairfax County officials though, the funds are seen as a safe bet for retirees:

“All investments involve risk and this investment is no different. However, as they would do with any investment, Fairfax’s investment team determined that the expected returns from this investment were in line with the level of risk incurred. This also played a big part in how much was invested.”

Morgan Creek has convinced Fairfax county to invest up to 15% of retirement funds into cryptocurrency projects although Fairfax County Retirement Systems Director Jeff Weiler has said that “no more than 15% of the funds will be invested in actual cryptocurrencies and, to-date, the Fund has no exposure to any cryptocurrencies”.

Morgan Creek’s Anthony Pompliano believes Bitcoin could still go below USD 3,000 although he points out that a recovery to USD 5,000 would result in a USD 5 million investment in Bitcoin returning a USD 1.9 million profit.

 

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Israeli Civil Rights NGO Wants Coinbase to Close Hamas Account

Israeli Civil Rights NGO Wants Coinbase to Close Hamas Account

An Israeli civil rights NGO has threated to take Coinbase to court over a Hamas cryptocurrency account.

The official Telegram channel of Abu Obeida, a spokesman for Hamas’ Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, made the appeal for Bitcoin asking all the “supporters of our righteous cause to support the resistance financially using Bitcoin”.

Shurat Hadin-Israel Law Center is suggesting that Hamas has set up a Coinbase account for this purpose and as such, donations to Hamas would be a violation of US federal law under the 1995 Counter-Terrorism Act. They stated in a letter to the US exchange giant:

“It has recently come to our attention that the notorious Palestinian terrorist group Hamas currently maintains an account with Coinbase, Inc. (“Coinbase”), through which it is accepting donations.”

It added that Coinbase should immediately terminate all Hamas accounts.

Bitcoin users would be quick to point out that Hamas would be free to use its own open source Bitcoin client as a wallet, should its Coinbase account be closed. As a decentralized and censorship-resistant currency, efforts to block or sanction it would be quite futile, as proven by the much-mocked attempts by the US government last November to sanction Bitcoin addresses.

The territories of Gaza and the West Bank are separated from each other by Israeli territory. Both fell under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority but Gaza has since June 2007 been governed by Hamas since 2006.

There are reportedly now 20 unaccredited exchanges helping local cryptocurrency users to get their money abroad to make investments that otherwise they would have no chance of making in the region. In Gaza, a provider of Bitcoin to Palestinians recently maintained that his clients view Bitcoin as “cheaper, safer, and quicker”, maintaining that “nothing works with Palestinian banks” and that “Bitcoin wallets are alternative banks”.

Late last year the US online payment service PayPal closed the account of the Germany-based NGO International Alliance – an organization that sympathizes with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terrorist organization and supports boycotting Israel, with PayPal simply stating that “This recipient is currently unable to receive money”.

 

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US Crypto Regulations Between a Rock and a Hard Place

US Crypto Regulations Between a Rock and a Hard Place

In the midst of the delay for the approval of Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) applications after several rejections, and current uncertainty regarding regulatory framework, US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Commissioner Hester Peirce provided insights into the matter as an opportunity for better industry development.

Last week, Heister made comments on the issues of state regulation at the University of Missouri School of Law where she opined that “entrepreneurship and innovation do not have the happiest relationship with innovation”, which may be the core reason why crypto ventures have suffered in the hands of most regulatory systems.

The SEC’s clamp down on non-compliant ICOs (issuing securities disguised as utility tokens), its rejection of Bitcoin ETF applications, and somewhat deliberate delay in providing a regulatory framework as regards the industry may have a more logical than malicious intent behind it. Innovations, while they make life easier most of the time, always come outside the norms, especially those of the regulatory system and often times drives regulators to accept changes despite skepticism.

“Regulators, for their part, tend to be skeptical of change because its consequences are difficult to foresee and figuring out how it fits into existing regulatory frameworks is difficult,” she said, implying that it’s not an easy task for the SEC to reject what seemingly looks like a financial innovation in an attempt to weigh and understand the situation correctly.

The last financial crisis has made it easier for trust issues to thrive, especially on the part of the regulator, given that some ascribe the crisis to be due to “financial innovations”. Peirce pointed out that “…every innovation — even one that almost everyone agrees is good — carries with it some risk”, something currently agreeable with the cryptocurrency system.

Accordingly, since innovations can be unpredictable, so caution must be applied when drafting regulatory frameworks, especially for a new industry such as blockchain and its underlying assets. Peirce continues by saying that “as regulators, therefore, we must allow innovation to proceed, even as we put in reasonable safeguards and watch for unanticipated consequences”, and still, it has to come with no comprise to the securities laws in place. It behooves one to imagine where the true line of trade-offs will be drawn, seeing that the core structure of the crypto industry lies in decentralization, which by implication makes it harder for any regulator.

Still, the regulatory polarity has created distinct shades of gray areas around the world. With the Chinese government adamant with its crypto ban, the Indian government chose a rather bizarre stance — first with a ban on banking services to crypto related ventures, and then planned to develop a state-backed cryptocurrency, which it shelved later on. Meanwhile, other jurisdictions have launched out to attract the “rejected”, by providing a safe haven to crypto ventures, and a few nations are developing their own state-backed crypto to augment their economies.

In the UK, the principal regulator has extended an invitation to the public through its consultation paper to better assess a possible way forward for industry regulations. It said in late January: “We are consulting on Guidance for crypto assets to provide regulatory clarity for market participants.” Meanwhile, in the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has also hinted on possible ICO regulations to be introduced later this year.

So far, the crypto industry has had checkered developments and have more recently been in a stalemate (regardless of minor spikes in market dynamics), and many have been waiting eagerly for the next bull-run trigger. It’s basically what most crypto enthusiasts talk about these days, consequently, dialing down tech innovation, development and mass adoption of crypto products — at least, for the innovations that they stand for — and are relying on adjuncts gunning for more institutional involvement that would supposedly propel the market further.

While the US SEC does recognize the potential this innovative technology may provide, as Peirce says. “the United States has benefited greatly from the relative importance of non-bank financing”, supposedly placing them on par with the capital market. This further buttresses the point made by SEC boss Jay Clayton who viewed crypto as a “promise for adding efficiency to our [capital] marketplace”.

However, the regulatory watchdog maintains a stance of balance that involved protecting the interests of investors as market volatility, manipulation, hacks, frauds, exchange illiquidity, and a host of other unforeseen consequences from the unstandardized cryptosystem remain legitimate concerns.

Perhaps, when the SEC, as well as other financial regulators, have finally regulated the industry, these problems will be adequately tackled. Meanwhile, the regulator itself is waiting for the maturity of the industry marked by improved oversight on market surveillance, definitive asset classification, and airtight custody solutions, before embracing the industry wholeheartedly. But it still remains to be known at what cost?

The good news so far is that earlier this year, a bill was introduced in the House to help with asset classification, that partly takes care of one problem. Nasdaq introduced its SMARTS Market Surveillance solution which may have provided precedence in the direction of play towards controlling market manipulation. On the subject of custody solutions, crypto ventures are urged to ensure best cybersecurity practices. Fidelity, Coinbase, Gemini, BitGo, Ledger, ItBi and even Goldman Sachs are among many reportedly racing toward that end.

Peirce’s overall sentiment in a manner of speaking, perhaps one shared on both sides of the tussle is that the delay in drawing clear lines may actually allow more freedom for the technology to come into its own.

 

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Coinbase Review: Is It Right for You?

Coinbase Review_ Is It Right for You_

Coinbase, a US-based fintech company founded in 2012, is one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges in the world with over 20 million customers in 42 countries. It offers wallet and exchange services for inexperienced traders, cryptocurrency enthusiasts and institutional investors which are backed by Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) protection for US residents and is registered as a Money Services Business with FinCen.

This Coinbase review will take a good look at its brokerage, exchange and wallet services for everyday users, including how to get set up, verification requirements, security, privacy, digital assets and products offered. Find out if Coinbase is the right option for you by reading this Coinbase review.

Coinbase the company

Coinbase has two company priorities, to “be the most trusted” and to “be the easiest to use”.

In terms of trustworthiness, Coinbase has a pretty strong reputation due to its long history and experience as a Bitcoin broker. Over time, it has expanded its services and is currently regulated by FinCEN and follows various laws and regulations such as the USA Patriot Act and the Bank Secrecy Act to ensure that customers enjoy a secure experience with a legitimate company.

Coinbase complies with EU GDPR regulations and US residents receive FDIC insurance up to USD 250,000 for all US dollars deposited and held in Coinbase accounts which are in turn held in US Treasury or in custodial bank accounts. International customers’ fiat funds are also held in custodial bank accounts. Although not terribly important to the average user, it is worth noting that the company has enjoyed strong growth and received USD 217 million in investments from a wide range of entities including BBVA, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, Bank of Tokyo, Digital Currency Group and Blockchain Capital.

As for ease of use, the platform is well suited to beginners and no trading experience is required. Coinbase makes the process of buying cryptocurrencies uncomplicated and quick.

Coinbase currently operates in the following countries:

Singapore Australia Canada USA Austria Belgium Bulgaria Croatia
Czech Rep. Switzerland Denmark Finland Greece Hungary Iceland Ireland
Guernsey San Marino Latvia Slovenia Malta Monaco Norway Poland
Isle of Man Netherlands Portugal Spain UK Andorra Sweden Slovakia
Liechtenstein Lithuania Italy Cyprus

Those that are not residents of these countries can use some of Coinbase’s services such as their wallet to send and receive cryptocurrencies, however, won’t be able to buy or sell them.

Products and accounts

Coinbase has expanded its service in recent years to cater to a wider range of customer needs. We will go over them quickly, however, in this review, we will be focusing primarily on Coinbase for everyday customers.

For everyday customers: Coinbase online wallets, exchange services and the ability to buy and sell cryptocurrencies.

For advanced users: the Coinbase Pro trading platform, Paradex for Ethereum token trading and asset management.

For businesses: accounts with the ability to receive cryptocurrency payments.

For institutions: cryptocurrency custody, the Prime trading platform.

Conveniently, Coinbase has a mobile app which makes it easy to trade and exchange on the go with either iOS or Android devices.

Setup and verification

To open an account with Coinbase, users must also verify their account with a photo of a government-issued ID uploaded either via the mobile app or the website. US customers should note that a state issued ID is required such as a driver license. US passports cannot be processed.

The rest of the setup process is self explanatory and similar to that of many other exchanges. As Coinbase is a registered entity, it is required to complete a thorough identification process as part of KYC responsibilities and may also require a social security number from some users.

Once your account has been verified then you can begin trading and exchanging any of the many cryptocurrencies supported by Coinbase.

Cryptocurrencies

Coinbase supports 15 cryptocurrencies and although its range could perhaps be wider, it does contain most popular and widely-traded coins.

coinbase cryptocurrencies

The Pro and Prime trading platforms give users access to several more altcoins. However, these platforms are better suited to advanced and institutional traders, and are beyond the scope of this review.

Account funding and fees

Payment options and their associated fees depend on your country of residence.

Users have the ability to deposit via bank transfer (SEPA transfers for European users), wire transfer or credit/debit card. Bank transfers (ACH) and credit/debit cards will have to be added to your account as a linked payment method and verified.

Note: according to Coinbase, it is no longer accepting new credit cards and recommend using a debit card or bank account instead.

Coinbase’s fee schedule is somewhat complicated, which can cause some confusion and has led to some negative feedback from users but we will attempt to explain it as simply as possible.

When buying cryptocurrencies with fiat funds the total fee consists of two parts. The first part is the price as shown on Coinbase Pro with an added spread of 0.5% as Coinbase attempts to fill the order with other orders from Coinbase Pro.

The second part is a transaction fee that is dependent on how much is being deposited and how it is deposited. When less than USD 200, a flat fee depending on the amount is charged and when above USD 200, then a variable fee is charged depending on payment method (or whichever is larger).

coinbase USA fees

For example, when purchasing USD 100 of Bitcoin, a flat transaction fee of USD 2.99 would normally be charged. However, when purchasing via debit card, purchases attract a fee of 3.99%, the 3.99% of USD 100 (or USD 3.99) would be calculated as the transaction fee instead of the flat USD 2.99 fee, as it is the larger one.

When using Coinbase’s exchange platform, a crypto-to-crypto exchange will be subject to an approximately 1.00% spread and no transaction fee. You can also transfer between different wallets on Coinbase free of charge. ACH bank transfers are free and wire transfers cost USD 10 with a USD 5,000 minimum deposit and USD 25 with a USD 25,000 withdrawal maximum. More information on fees and payment options by location and method can be found here.

Although the fee structure is sometimes not so easy to follow, it is reasonable when compared to other large exchanges.

Buying limits

Buying limits apply and depend on your account level which is based on the level of verification reached. To increase buying limits the following steps can be taken:

  • Verify phone number

  • Verify personal information

  • Verify photo ID (valid state ID for US customers)

When all of these have been completed, then a typical US resident will be able to purchase USD 25,000 per day.

Security and privacy

Coinbase uses several security features to protect users and themselves from various forms of theft.

  • Coinbase uses hot wallets to hold 2 % of funds for trading and fluidity with the remaining 98% held in cold storage

  • 2 Factor Authentication available

  • Bank account numbers and routing codes protected by bank level AES-256 encryption

  • SSL connection using the platform to prevent other people from seeing your communication/actions on Coinbase

  • Background checks are done on all employees

Coinbase uses a third-party site, Plaid Technologies Inc, to verify US customer accounts instantly via their bank information. A copy of Plaid Technologies Inc’s privacy policy can be found here if you would like to find out more.

Although Coinbase takes security seriously, as it is an online wallet and exchange service, it can never be immune to all threats and you do not have total control over your cryptoassets. A more secure option would be to use a hardware wallet to store your crypto after having bought or exchanged your funds.

Coinbase states that their policy of retaining IP addresses and tracking the movement of funds purchased on the site aims to prevent money laundering. This has irritated some users, particularly those that have had their accounts suspended because they sent crypto to the darknet, gambling sites or Localbitcoins, all of which may lead Coinbase to close an account.

Customer support

Coinbase has spent a lot of time and energy to ensure that the process of buying and selling cryptocurrencies on the site is as painless as possible. However, it is not immune to customer service issues. Unfortunately, it is not difficult to find complaints about the platform on various internet forums and reviews, usually in relation to their customer support services.

That being said, we didn’t have any problems when dealing with their customer support and they do have a very good FAQ page that covers a range of topics which is a good starting point before looking to customer support for help. If you would like to contact customer support then you can do so via their ticket service, their support bot, via support@coinbase.com or by phone on the following numbers:

US/international : +1 888 908-7930

UK : 0808 168 4635

Coinbase review summary

As one of the oldest cryptocurrency exchanges and broker services in existence, Coinbase has had a lot of time to polish its services into some of the easiest to use there are. In terms of fees, for brokerage services such as those offered by Coinbase, it is competitive, as is its range of cryptocurrencies.

Perhaps the main issue with this platform is its customer support which has been subject to criticism in the past as well as privacy concerns due to the extensive verification process we mentioned previously in this Coinbase review.

In summary, it is fair to say that Coinbase is reputable and best suited for those that are new to the cryptocurrency industry or buying/trading small to medium quantities of cryptocurrencies. It provides a secure, regulated environment that simplifies the process of purchasing, selling and trading. If you feel that Coinbase is right for you, then you can sign up here.

 

Disclaimer: BitcoinNews does not provide any warranties towards the accuracy of the statements in the above Coinbase review. Any content on this site should not be relied upon as advice or construed as providing recommendations of any kind. It is your responsibility to perform your own research of the platform. Trading and investing in cryptocurrencies involves considerable risk of loss and is not suitable for every investor.

 

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Kraken Acquires Crypto Facilities in “Nine-Figure” Deal

Crypto Exchange Kraken Acquires Crypto Facilities In a 'Nine-Figure' Deal

In a report yesterday by news outlet Fortune, San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Kraken made an M&A move towards British trading firm Crypto Facilities in a “nine-figure” deal, a reassuring gesture of the coming of high-profile investors into the crypto space.

Recently, Bitcoin News reported on how an expected full-fledged institution uptake has slowed down, most likely due to regulatory and infrastructural shortcomings. However, “institutional investment” clauses continue to pool millions of US dollars into the cryptocurrency market, as revealed by more frequent mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

According to Kraken CEO Jesse Powell, the deal had been in the works for about 10 months and was only awaiting approval from UK’s financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Kraken, which is currently on the cusp of a USD 100 million funding round from its larger customers made up of accredited investors, has made this move in order to provide trading facilities for institutional clients. Although it made it clear that this service will not be available to the US customer base.

At press time, Kraken is #43 on a 24-hour volume rankings of exchanges and has seen over USD 42 million trading volume in the past 24 hours from 72 trading pairs, according to CoinMarketCap data. The acquisition move means Kraken has positioned itself to be the first cryptocurrency exchange with both a spot and futures trading service in Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple, making it a one-stop shop for crypto trading and derivatives.

The report further highlights other acquisitions made in the past by the exchange to include smaller exchanges, crypto research, and digital wallet firms. This achievement puts it on par with other exchanges to include Binance and Coinbase looking to scale up operations for the prospective market.

The previous year saw quite a number of acquisitions and mergers such as BitGo’s acquisition of the Kingdom Trust Company as well as Kingdom Services to provide institutional clients with regulated custodial services. Early this year, Intercontinental Exchange’s Bakkt said it had acquired certain assets of Rosenthal Collins Group (RCG), an independent futures commission merchant.

The recent spike in mergers and acquisitions brings back memories from the age of the internet boom, which saw an instrumental bear market that reshaped the industry. Smaller companies were being absorbed by larger corporations and the consolidation of internet firms solidified the place of infotech in today’s economy.

Perhaps, similar occurrences await the crypto boom and bust as with the early internet days, and if so, there’s a fierce competition for the future-grade blockchain and cryptocurrency market – which so far, paints a picture with institutional investors being pivotal to that reality.

 

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If Institutions Could Change the Crypto Market Narrative, What’s Keeping Them?

If Institutions Could Change the Crypto Market Narrative, What’s Keeping Them_ (1)

Last year saw lots of interest from institutions, who were a part of a hype-drive that supposedly should have ushered Bitcoin and the altcoins out of a prolonged bear market in 2019.

Suddenly, the prospects for institutional investments in the cryptocurrency markets have far more long-reaching effects than the actual application of the blockchain technology itself. It suggested that investors were bored with the cliché of what blockchain is and its potential, and are far more interested in how much they can profit off its underlying asset class.

Institutional investor flux

In preparation for these new class of investors, crypto ventures were adjusting their business infrastructures to accommodate the changes that would ensue from the influx of these sophisticated investors.

Top cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume Binance reportedly added sub-account features; Chicago-based cryptocurrency exchange Seed CX introduced spot trading facility for institutional investors; number one US crypto trading platform Coinbase launched an over-the-counter (OTC) trading platform for institutional clients; Circle’s Poloniex opened up trading services exclusive for institutional clients, and many more strides in the direction of high net-worth investment categories.

Perhaps the most currently notable investment interests for this class of investors include those to be offered by Intercontinental Exchange’s (ICE) Bakkt and Fidelity. The growing interests in these platforms suggest that these products would probably turn the tides for the crypto market upside, as it is perceived that they would offer a fresh inflow of capital and liquidity into the space.

Rewriting the market narrative

Accordingly, when the market crashed in November 2018, falling below the supposed bottom of USD 6,000 at the time, many thought that was the moment for institutional investors to hop in. Still, prices have breached many more speculated bottoms and are currently hovering around USD 3,400; yet, most of these investors have stayed their hands. One question, if these investors could actually change the narrative for the market, what’s stopping them?

Here are a few pointers: liquidity issues, susceptibility to market manipulation, regulation uncertainty, and crypto custody issues. Above all, the right framework may yet be the reason why these investors have not fully immersed themselves.

Moreover, insights provided by John Devlin, chief analyst at P.A.ID suggested that crypto needs to rise above stigma, and also become more regulatory compliant: “According to P.A.ID Strategies, 68% of Bitcoin exchanges across the US, and Europe is not KYC compliant.”

On another note, head of regulatory surveillance and marketplace at Nasdaq Tony Sio told business insider that while lots of exchanges were reaching out for Nasdaq’s SMARTS Trade Surveillance platform, it was however difficult because according to him, as a startup, “it is quite hard to set up because it requires a fair bit of work… [and] probably one of the sticking points”. This would imply that some of these investment propositions to institutions need time to develop and mature before implementing to scale.

Although some of the new projects reportedly claim that they are working diligently to ensure that their final product will meet the standards and expectations of the new class of investors. However, it remains to be seen exactly how the market will play out in the event that these platforms are finally launched.

 

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The Road Ahead for Venezuela: Is There a Place for Cryptocurrency in Rebuilding a Failed Economy?

BitcoinNews began following the situation in Venezuela early last year and had since then tagged it as a potential humanitarian disaster. Where does Venezuela turn as it sits on the cusp of a complete breakdown of its political system and its economy while facing the challenge of a new era of effective government?

Bitcoin, albeit driven underground by the Maduro regime, has been supporting many of those nationals choosing to remain in the country rather than fleeing to neighboring Columbia in order to escape poverty. Many have found solace in Bitcoin and Dash which may have at least to this point delivered what they promised.

However, Petro — the national crypto brainwave of Nicholas Maduro which was introduced in December 2017 as a solution to the country’s ever-deepening national crisis has failed. The Venezuelan crisis was started by the much-adored Hugo Chavez and his extreme social programmes which eventually bankrupted the country before his death from cancer. Backed by tangible assets like gold, oil, and diamonds Maduro tried to convince a nation of a solution which was ill planned. It is no accident that the introduction of the Petro came at a time when Bitcoin prices were soaring.

Many Venezuelans, turned on by the hype of Bitcoin through the media, and then its actual applications – its “real-life” workability when they could lay their hands on it, were equally turned off by the near-invisible and highly impractical Petro. This was made even more ludicrous by the arrival of “Petro Gold”, each one backed by a barrel of oil, which took the application of using cryptocurrency as a fix to an economic disaster into the realms of the theatre of the absurd.

Now, Venezuela’s economy has shrunk in half within five years, and it’s hyperinflated, unsupported by oil output which has fallen by almost two thirds since 1999. To worsen the situation, it has to deal with US sanctions, which very quickly ensured that no Americans could own the Petro or Petro gold. Chavez inherited an oil boom and squandered it. Maduro, faced with the challenge of addressing an economic meltdown, introduced a national cryptocurrency and mismanaged it. This begs the question, can a proven cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin find a place in Venezuela’s economy should Maduro go, given that Venezuelan’s may have a little stomach left for cryptocurrency after the Petro fiasco.

Many Venezuelans may have observed that Bitcoin has at least proven itself as an alternative to the worthless Bolivar and the almost unobtainable US dollar during the turmoil of Maduro’s term as President. Juan Guaidó, the country’s President of the National Assembly-come interim unofficial replacement for the still incumbent Maduro, will give some encouragement to nationals. In August 2014, he announced the launch of Bitcoin exchange Plataforma Sur Bitcoin, the first exchange allowing Venezuelans to buy Bitcoin using Bolivars at a time when they still had value. Guaidó would almost certainly write off the Petro as the failure that it is and look for other options for the much-devalued Bolivar as he has long been the national cryptocurrency’s greatest critic.

If Guaidó is to promote the use of Bitcoin on the streets of Venezuela he has a real challenge ahead in terms of logistics, infrastructure and changing the thinking of a whole nation. Data released by the country’s national telecom providers shows that there are only 11.9 million mobile devices in Venezuela, a country with a population of 30 million people.

Currency controls mean that this number is dropping even further because no one is importing smartphones into the country to sell so that the devices in circulation are often unbranded or not up to date. Some cities are completely disconnected from any communication system, some going without access to calls, SMS, text, 3G or even cable internet with no connection beyond city limits.

Educating Venezuelans about the actual applications of cryptocurrencies in the wake of Petro is another challenge if Bitcoin is to find a place. There have been some inroads into this of late with non-profit blockchain firm Cripto Conserje and US company Horizen (formerly ZenCash) collaborating to create an education program for refugees fleeing the country to neighboring Columbia. Cripto Conserje’s Alpha Project has been set up to increase cryptocurrency adoption in Latin America, especially in the border town of Cucuta, and is hoping to encourage more Venezuelans to turn to crypto, as spokesman for the project commented:

“Together we are providing ZEN paper wallets and education to those in need