Bitcoin (BTC) trading set new records in two of its most keenly watched South American markets last week, new data has revealed.
As monitoring resource Coin Dance confirmed on Nov. 10, the seven days ending Saturday saw more trading against BTC than ever before in both Venezuela and Argentina.
The statistics cover peer-to-peer platform Localbitcoins, which despite increasing user identification demands continues to see patronage in the two troubled economies.
In total, Venezuela traded 142.9 billion sovereign bolivars (VES) last week, while Argentina managed 19.4 million pesos (ARS). Both are firm records over previous levels.
In Bitcoin terms, however, the trading period did not see a noticeable uptick in volume, proof that both countries’ currencies are continuing to weaken. Venezuela traded 627 BTC ($5.5 million), while Argentina’s tally totaled 30 BTC ($263,000).
Inflation continues to be a major problem for the governments in both Caracas and Buenos Aires, with Argentina’s change of government only serving to make matters worse for the economy.
Last week, the central bank formally banned consumers from purchasing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency using credit cards.
Venezuelans meanwhile continue to hit out at their regime’s state-backed cryptocurrency Petro, introduced on a semi-mandatory basis last year.
“Printing physical worthless money is expensive and has challenging logistics. This is why Venezuela is going ‘Petro’ — to screw the people out their savings in real-time, with no printing costs at all,” Mauricio Di Bartolomeo, co-founder of Bitcoin finance startup Ledn, summarized about the situation on Nov. 7. He added:
“The Venezuelan Petro is everything Bitcoin stands against.”
According to the Financial Times on Sunday, Venezuela is being forced to sell cheap blends of oil at a significant discount due to the mounting impact of United States’ sanctions on the government.
Oil revenues are now down to just $250 million per month, compared with up to $5 billion prior to the financial crisis.