Venezuela is often mentioned in the list of countries with the highest movement of cryptocurrencies, this form of “digital cash” born in 2009 with the Bitcoin protocol, a decentralized database protected by advanced cryptography that records exchange transactions between peers ( P2P) in a data blockchain scheme, which would later become popularly known as a “blockchain”.
In recent years, our country has ranked among the first places in transactions on the LocalBitcoins.com platform, one of the most important in the world in terms of P2P exchanges. The specialized firm ChainAnalysis recently published its “Global Cryptocurrency Adoption Index 2021”, in which Venezuela is ranked 7. It is worth saying that in this same report last year our country ranked third.
The explanation for this is that the economic crisis, characterized by a strong and long hyperinflation, prompts Venezuelans to protect their income by changing bolivars to currencies, mainly the US dollar. But in this context, cryptocurrencies emerged as an attractive option for those with access to digital connections. Such has been the movement, that last year the Binance company, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, opened the option of P2P exchanges directly between accounts in bolivars and various crypto assets, including Bitcoin (BTC), Tether (USDT) and Binance Coin (BNB).
The Government has encouraged the use of cryptocurrencies in the speech and created its own version: the Petro (PTR). In December 2019, President Maduro announced the deposit for all pensioners of a special bonus equivalent to half a PTR, approximately $ 30, to promote the use of the Patria platform, the digital financial system for the management of social benefits of the Venezuelan Government.
Faced with this scenario, in Data UN We decided to find out how Venezuelans relate to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, by surveying our audience. We carry out a digital survey through ultimasnoticias.com.ve and our social networks between Monday 13 and Thursday 16 September. 6,305 people participated and the results were as follows.
From general knowledge to the “niche”
The first thing we did was ask people if they know what Bitcoin is, to determine the presence of this topic, so fashionable and so complex at the same time, in current Venezuelan culture. Almost 59% of the participants said they know what Bitcoin is, compared to 41.3% who said they do not know. It is worth noting here that the rest of the questions in our survey were made exclusively to the group of people who said they had knowledge of the subject, the rest finished the questionnaire just after answering the first question negatively.
From this filter, we move a little further to better characterize the knowledge we have about the world of cryptocurrencies. We asked “How much do you know about Bitcoin?”, And people responded like this:
More than half (56.5%) say they have basic knowledge, know what Bitcoin is for and how it is used. 36.8% confessed to knowing very little and not understanding much. This means that more than a third of those who know that cryptocurrencies exist have no greater idea what this is about. Only 6.7% claimed to know enough and master its operation. We could say that, although much is said about the subject, the knowledge is rather general, while the real knowledge of the subject remains at the level of a “niche” reserved for a few.
When we asked what other cryptocurrencies people know about, the Petro (PTR) dominated the scene – it is recognized by 88.8% of people. Meanwhile, Ethereum (ETH), the second most important crypto by global market capitalization, also ranks second in recognition in Venezuela, with 41.5%. Then came Bitcoin Cash (BCH), 34.6%; Litecoin (LTC), 24.2%; Dash (DASH), 22.6%; Binance Coin (BNB), 19.6%; Dogecoin (DOGE), 17.5%; Binance USD (BUSD), 16%; Tether (USDT), 11.9%; Monero (XMR), 9.4%; ZCash (ZEC), 7.4%; Ripple (XRP), 6.6%; and Cardano (ADA), 6.5%.
Now, beyond how aware we may be of this matter, how are we in terms of the real use of cryptocurrencies? Just under half of those who have some knowledge about Bitcoin claim to use them, while 51.1% confessed in our survey that they never actually use them. So after splitting our population in half between those who knew and did not know what Bitcoin was, we now had our second “halving”, or halving, to stay with those who claim to make regular use of digital currencies. If we consider this group with respect to the total of the participants in our survey, we have that 28.7% of the population considers itself a “frequent” user of cryptocurrencies.
The question was: “What do you use cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin or others) for?” And in the details of the responses, we find that 35.9% use them “to save”, that is, as a store of value. 28.3% of “frequent users” affirm that they use them to pay for goods and services. Only 7% affirm that they are dedicated to “trading” cryptocurrencies, that is, to speculation in the digital market. Another 28% claim to make use of “all of the above” options.
To specify a little more the use that is given to crypto assets in our country, we asked about the frequency, as follows: “When was the last time you made a transaction with cryptocurrencies?”
We got two readings for this, one among “frequent users” and one among total people with some knowledge of Bitcoin. Of the latter, the majority (62.4%) confirmed that they have never made a transaction and only 3.6% said they had made one in the last 24 hours. Now, 18.1% is the sum of those who claim to have used cryptos within the last 3 months.
When we review the responses of regular users, we have that the activity in the last day increases to 9.6% and the movement within the last 3 months is present in 48.3% of the cases.
And to get a more complete idea, we found that 23.9% of people with some knowledge of the subject have actually installed a crypto-asset management application (APP) on their cell phone. This is 14.1% of the total of those who answered the first question of our survey.
Only 20.1% of knowledgeable users (11.8% of the total survey) say they have made at least one payment for goods and services directly with cryptocurrencies.
The Petro and the Bolívar
We also ask about the most used platforms when trading crypto assets. We obtained that, by far, the most used system in the country is the Patria platform (55.9%). Second is Binance, which is used by 21% of frequent “crypto users”. Then, and far away, is AirTM (5.8%) slightly above LocalBitcoins (5.7%). National Exchanges, authorized by the Superintendency of Crypto Assets, receive only 3.6% of users.
As for the most used cryptocurrency, the Petro occupies the first place with 60.2%. Second is Bitcoin with 20% and the third and fourth place are well withdrawn and belong to Binance Coin (4.5%) and Tether (4.4%).
The bolivar is consolidated as the fiat currency that we use the most to buy crypto assets in Venezuela, with 70% of the cases. In second place, with 29%, is the dollar, while the Colombian peso and the euro share the remaining 1%.
It is not a country of miners
Finally, we ask our audience if they currently do mining and have they ever done it. Only 9.7% answered yes and 90.3% said that they have never mined cryptocurrencies.
Among this small group, the cryptoactive that dominates mining activity is Bitcoin (BTC), with 54.5%. Next comes Ether (ETH) with 14.2%, Dogecoin (DOGE) with 7.3% and Litecoin (LTC) with 7%.
Undoubtedly, a much more precise study could be done on the situation of cryptocurrencies in Venezuela, but this approach gives us an idea of how the matter moves in the middle and popular sectors, which make up the majority audience of our portal. Cryptocurrencies are a restricted subject, but, paradoxically, the crisis is what has driven them to the dimension they have managed to reach. It will be interesting to see its behavior in a possible scenario of economic stabilization.