The hyperinflation that Venezuela has experienced since 2018 reduced the purchasing power of the bolivar, its national currency, to practically nothing. The situation also affects the prices of products and services marked in dollars that, without any qualms, increase due to the economic distortion that exists in the country.
To minimize the general disinterest in the bolivar and the increase in prices in dollars, the merchants of the Bolívar state, in the south of the country, have opted for years to mark their articles following the price of gold. The This measure, although drastic, is accepted by buyers since there are multiple precious metal mines in the region.
The purchase of food with grams of gold, for example, is usual in some areas where the bolivar is no longer used. Now, a viralized video on social networks shows how it is the dynamics to pay under this modality. In many cases, citizens use the so-called Cochano gold, which is gold in its natural state and without an alloying process.
Merchants offer the items for sale. higher, that is, by the dozen for resale or private consumption, with direct payment in grams of gold. Those who wish to buy just 1 kilo of rice, for example, have the option of paying with dollars in cash. In other establishments near the border with Brazil, payment is also accepted in reais, the Brazilian national currency, a fact reported by CriptoNoticias.
Depending on the area, the price of gold is calculated in Colombian pesos or US dollars. A tenth of a gram of gold, about $ 5, would go to buy some basic necessities. The price of a gram of gold in regulated markets currently ranges between $ 44 (18K) and $ 59 (24k).
A curious fact is that low-denomination bolivar notes are used by gold merchants to « pack »the grams they sell. Buyers receive the gold wrapped in a Venezuelan banknote that is later discarded because it does not represent any purchasing power.
Bitcoin as an alternative in Venezuela
For years, Venezuelans have used various monetary mechanisms to avoid the loss of value of the bolivar. Those who live near the border with Colombia use pesos, a similar situation occurs with the border of Brazil and the real one. On a national scale, the use of the dollar predominates, among foreign currencies. However, cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin are gaining more and more spaces.
In September 2020 a report by the blockchain intelligence company, Chainalysis, highlighted that the country is the third on a global scale in adoption of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The study considered 4 metrics: the value of transactions received in general, the value of operations in retail stores, the volume of exchange in P2P platforms and the total number of deposits in cryptocurrencies.
Nowadays, Venezuela is the country with the highest inflation in the world. According to Statista records, inflation reached 65,000% in 2018 and then fell to 19,900% in 2019. In 2020 the figure was around 6,500% and this year is expected to close at 5,500%.