Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, after declaring a state of emergency in the country for the coronavirus Covid-19, has decided to close all bank branches.
The official Twitter profile of the Venezuelan Banking Sector Superintendence (SudebanInforma) has shared a memo that calls for the closure of all banking activities involving contact with the public.
— SudebanInforma (@SudebanInforma) March 15, 2020
Only the remote ones, including web-banking and ATMs, will remain operational.
Since the country’s monetary system has already been in very serious trouble for a long time, due to hyperinflation that continues to devalue the national currency, many citizens are worried, to the extent that the volumes of Peer-to-Peer crypto exchanges in Venezuela have been growing sharply in recent days.
In fact, there are doubts that the ATMs can continue to work, such that a Venezuelan citizen, in response to SudebanInforma’s tweet, wrote that he would not complain if ATMs worked, allowing citizens to withdraw their money, and if cash had not been rationed.
But that is clearly not the case, as he adds:
“but there’s so much going on here that I’m going crazy”.
Confirmation of the increase in crypto volumes in the country comes from local.bitcoin.com, where there are many traders willing to buy and sell BCH in particular, in exchange not only for the local fiat currency but also the state Petro token.
It is possible that, with the blockages and limitations that prevent Venezuelan citizens from being able to use their fiat money freely, some of them are trying to use cryptocurrencies so as not to suffer from limitations, other than the possibility of being connected to the Internet.
If the emergency lasts a long time, it may well be that the use of cryptocurrencies as a real alternative to fiat money will spread widely in the country, thanks in particular to the fewer restrictions that may allow Venezuelans to use them in total freedom, regardless of any measures that the government may take in this regard.
Indeed, the greater the restrictive measures on the use of money, the more useful it will become to resort to cryptocurrencies, precisely because they cannot be restricted in any technical way.