The Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and his cohorts have long banged the drum about creating a “crypto-powered economy” – but it appears that either the message has got through to citizens, or Venezuelans have been adopting crypto of their own accord.
The heavily sanctioned Maduro regime, which has been at loggerheads with the United States and its allies for many years now, may not have gone so far as to adopt bitcoin (BTC) as legal tender, El Salvador-style.
But some may argue that it laid the groundwork for El Salvador’s move. Washington-led sanctions have essentially cut off above-board trade with most international players. And it seems that Maduro has given state-run firms the green light to conduct under-the-radar deals using cryptoassets rather than fiat, as a means of payment.
This has led to the Venezuelan state amassing a sizeable “stash” of both bitcoin and ethereum (ETH). Coffers have been further bolstered by crypto mining – with even the army ordered to get in on the act.
What is more, the government has issued its own, allegedly oil-backed coin named the petro (PTR), which it has claimed has found use in “international” locations.
Furthermore, a dazzlingly large array of businesses in the country – from fast-food eateries to gas stations, department stores, and supermarket chains – accept mainstream tokens such as BTC, ETH, and major altcoins.
Overseas Venezuelans and family members have also been encouraged to remit crypto to relatives in the country using the state-operated Patria platform.
Indeed, only Facebook.com, the Google homepage, and YouTube placed higher than Patria on the Alexa site, beating out Google Venezuela, Instagram, Amazon, and Wikipedia.
The crypto exchange Binance‘s site made number 21 on the Alexa list, followed by the price tracker CoinMarketCap. Other standouts were the crypto games Block Farm Club and Axie Infinity (at #28 and #30 respectively, and the bitcoin advertising network CoinPayU at #33.
In the SimilarWeb list, Patria featured outside the top 10 at #12, but CoinMarketCap, which last month featured at #12, placed higher than it did on Alexa’s list – at #19.
There was also a place at #28 for the BTC price tracker PooCoin, while Binance ranked at #23. Other price trackers like CoinGecko also featured – and FreeBitcoin.in ranked at #41, several places ahead of the likes of LinkedIn, Microsoft, and Pinterest.