P2P payments spurred crypto adoption across Venezuela in 2021


For Venezuela, 2021 was a year of considerable changes at the microeconomic level, where even more than in 2020, the results of potential catalysts for change such as COVID-19 were clearly visible.

In a more dynamic economy with a higher volume of operations with foreign currencies, cryptocurrencies have played a key role this year for the South American country.

In this review, we will look at the highlights of the Venezuelan crypto ecosystem in 2021 including related areas such as trading, game-winning (P2E) games, fintech, mining, regulation and non-fungal tokens (NFTs).

More people accepting cryptocurrencies

According to blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis, Venezuela ranks seventh in the Global Cryptocurrency Adoption Index 2021 thanks largely to peer-to-peer (P2P) business activity.

A notable trend in 2021 has been the growing number of people and businesses in Venezuela accepting cryptocurrencies as payment to prevent hyperinflation and devaluation of the national currency, the bolivar – a trend that has plagued the South American nation in recent years. .

In some of the country’s major cities such as the capital Caracas and Puerto La Cruz, it is increasingly common to see people or traders using cryptocurrencies as payment.

The emergence and adoption of crypto payment platforms such as Binance Pay, Reserve or even Valiú has accelerated the adoption of a more digital economy based on cryptocurrencies without the need for users to have extensive knowledge on the subject.

Notable cryptocurrencies in Venezuela include Simón Bolívar International Airport, the Bio Mercados supermarket chain, several casinos and even the largest cable television operator in the country. Fast food chain Church’s Chicken has also started paying bonuses to its employees at Dash (DASH).

Support for legal mining

According to a report by the University of Cambridge, Venezuela ranks among the top 10 countries in cryptocurrency mining in early 2021, making it the first Latin American country to break the top 10.

The country’s high mining rank has been due in large part to the fact that it has the lowest electricity prices in Latin America since 2018. This makes the Caribbean country attractive for Bitcoin (BTC) mining and the creation of a regulatory framework that protects and guarantees the legal development of the industry.

Despite some cases of confiscated mining equipment, arbitrary disconnections and arrests of illegal miners, the National Superintendence of Cryptoassets (SUNACRIP) has called on miners to operate legally. It is still looking for mechanisms to provide guarantees of legal stability.

In mid-September, an official government statement ordered police to refrain from conducting inspections or conducting operations related to surveillance, abduction or of any other nature that would disrupt cryptocurrency mining.

The country’s fifth official mining meeting was held in mid-November and SUNACRIP met with more than 150 miners in the region, companies linked to the digital mining sector, crypto personalities from the Venezuelan ecosystem and exchanges such as Binance.

Game-for-win game rage

During the last four months of 2021, 10 of the 50 most visited websites in Venezuela were related to cryptocurrencies, among which was a remarkable amount related to popular NFT games such as Axie Infinity and Plants vs Undead.

Game-winning and NFT games have caused a furor in Venezuela among both experienced crypto users and novices to the active class. The games have encouraged crypto adoption, mainly thanks to the ability of players to generate dividends.

For many Venezuelan families, this turned out to be a kind of economic saving because of the low wages. In fact, Venezuela boasts the second most active user base by country in Axie Infinity behind the Philippines.

The game was so popular that many companies began accepting Axie Infinity’s Smooth Love Potion (SLP) token. Binance has enabled SL2 P2P sharing in its application, and even a candidate for governor of the ruling party in the recent regional elections has promised to deliver Axie Infinity scholarships if he wins.

Academic interest in crypto and blockchain

Education is key to adoption in Venezuela, where Andres Bello Catholic University in Venezuela has incorporated blockchain, cryptocurrencies and fintech into the curriculum of programs in its schools of business administration and public accounting.

The Universidad Nacional Experimental de las Telecomunicaciones e Informática has introduced a master’s degree in blockchain, while Universidad de los Llanos has unveiled plans to introduce a bachelor’s degree focused on blockchain engineering and cryptocurrencies in 2022.

Appointed a specialist in blockchain

Roman Maniglia, a self-proclaimed specialist in cryptocurrencies and new technologies, was appointed by the government of President Nicolas Maduro in late September as president of the country’s largest bank, Banco de Venezuela.

The appointment of an official who describes himself in his Twitter biography as a specialist in finance, cryptocurrencies, fintech and blockchain demonstrates Venezuela’s interest in combining traditional financial systems with the new generation of technologies such as blockchain.

Promotion of Venezuelan NFT art

2021 saw an explosion not only in cryptocurrencies, but the explosion of NFTs around the world – Venezuela was no exception.

NFTs have seen mass adoption in entertainment with several popular video games, as well as use cases in art and music.

SUNACRIP launched NFT in commemoration of the country’s independence and the bicentennial of the Battle of Carabobo. Venezuela’s longtime parent company in the nation’s liquor sector, Ron Carúpano of Venezuela, has launched its own collection of NFTs on OpenSea’s decentralized marketplace for charitable purposes. In addition, a community of Venezuelan artists called La Tokenía donated works of art to NFTs and exhibited them at special exhibitions.