No I’m Not Venezuelan. No, I Don’t Own Bitcoin. Yes I’m Outraged.
Let’s face it. Crypto is ugly these days. People trying to tear other people, not just coins, down.
But I see a lot more people coming out in support of other coins, even admitting they are not against bitcoin. I don’t own any, because it doesn’t suit my purposes. But here’s why I don’t have a problem with bitcoin. I’m not going to be the energy police. That seems to be the biggest argument against.
We’ll get to Venezuela in a bit. First I want to talk self-appointed police.
About 25 years ago a farmland preservation program started where I live. Seemed harmless enough. It purchased people’s development rights at a fraction of the cost. The only condition at the time was that it could never be developed. That’s it. Today it’s a bloated, micromanaged, controlling program that does more harm than good. The hypocrisy in decision-making is almost comic.
One day a man came to the door and my husband, then boyfriend, was asked to sign a petition. The intent was to stop the sale of farmland to developers. Fred said, I’m not gonna sign that. So and so has been farming all these years and if he wants to sell some of his land, I’m not gonna tell him he can’t. The guy tried to convince Fred but he simply replied, you got yours, now you don’t want anyone else to have there’s.
That stuck with me all these years.
Another impactful event in my life was watching the devastation of Hurricane Sandy in my state. Many transformers in my area, and east of me, were destroyed. For many, that meant several weeks, not days, without electricity. I remember going to the food store. Lights dim because they were running on generators. Anything that requires refrigeration was not available for purchase. I remember feeling horrified thinking what it would be like days from then.
I lived in an area that was relatively on the edge of the storm. We were fortunate enough to get power back within several days. My sister lived a little east of me and a transformer had been taken out. Gas was hard to find to keep the generator going. So one night I asked Fred if we could take 6 gas containers and go fill them for my sister. We headed west about a half hour, to one of our favorite restaurants, for a chance they would be open, and to stop at a gas station near there.
I was worried about how long the line would be for gas. How much we would be able to get, if we would be able to get any at all.
I was shocked when we pulled right up to the tank and began to fill. Still perplexed on the way to the restaurant, we pulled in to the full parking lot, more typical of a weekend. I thought, no electricity, I guess people can’t cook. We went inside and now I was really surprised. It was as if just a half hour away, the world was not impacted one bit.
It hit me then that things that happen locally tend to be projected to a bigger scale. We make assumptions.
Many of my friends were wiped out. They worked in the tourism industry at the Jersey Shore. This storm had forever impacted their lives, as they saw many of their local businesses literally washed away.
I called my friend, Bob and asked what they needed most. Did they need water, food, what type of food? He answered they had a lot of that but no way to distribute it all. What they really needed was masks and gloves for health reasons, as they were having to go in and clean out areas. I would have never thought of that. I’m glad I went right to the source, rather than just assuming what they needed and shipping it.
Recently there was an outrage on twitter about Venezuela and bitcoin. Watching people attack someone, I was a little outraged that anyone would use this crisis in their argument, pro or con. So I asked if anyone knew someone in Venezuela. Because if not they shouldn’t really be using the crisis to further their argument. And the very thing the first person who was pro bitcoin was accused of, was the same thing others piling on were doing.
One person of four in the thread replied — the original poster. They gave me their justification. I truly accepted it.
After a lot of back and forth the next day, I gave the situation some serious thought.
Some of the arguments were based on assumptions. Anything I presented was dismissed. So I began to research Venezuela more.
Someone called it third world. That’s not what I though, but I looked it up. Guess what? Not only are they not third world, they were once the world’s 4th largest economy.
Someone pointed out the poor and uneducated. Another person said they assumed they were uneducated because the poor usually are. So I researched education in Venezuela. Did you know that the literacy rate is almost 98%? That doesn’t sound like an uneducated population to me.
Yes, I give you poor. How did the 4th largest economy get to the hyperinflation they have today? A man named Hugo Chavez came in to power and continued to amass it over the years. He pledged to eliminate corruption and clean-up politics through constitutional reforms. What he did was slowly take out his opposition, using crisis after crisis to do so. Sound familiar?
Someone mentioned lack of electricity and how can bitcoin work with no electricity. That argument confused me. I bought my first bitcoin in January 2018 (which was only to purchase xrp) sitting in Costa Rica, from my cell phone. Sure it took a couple days to appear in my account, but that was at the height of mining.
Did I need my phone to be powered on for the entire process? No.
Maybe everyone else is confused and thinking bitcoin doesn’t already exist in Venezuela and therefore without power, they can’t mine it as a solution? Well they’ve been mining it like crazy since late 2017. And electricity is dirt cheap there. I know if I lived there, and electicity was dirt cheap, I would have been mining in advance of knowing the worst is yet to come. Do you want to lecture a Venezuelan about consuming energy to mine bitcoin? Maybe you can do it from the beaches in Cuba, because it’s cool to go to Cuba and pretend your presence is helping the poor people there. (I won’t debate it with you. I’ll give you my Cuban refugee friend Ketty’s phone number and you can educate her on the real Cuba.)
Do you think that the entire country of Venezuela is totally without electricity as opposed to sporadic blackouts in a majority of parts? The truth is the network did not go down. Do I think a Venezuelan can access their bitcoin more easily than they can break in to a bank to get their money? Yes. Bitcoin gives them an option that the bank does not. Do you want them to have at least one option, or no option, because you think bitcoin’s a shitcoin?
Bitcoin is there. In February 2019, right before the crisis the heaviest trade volumes were occurring. How can that be? Honestly, I don’t really care. Here’s what I see. I see the devastation caused by top down. I see bitcoin in Venezuela (not saying everywhere) a viable bottom up workaround. Temporary though it may or may not be, I am glad for any presence of it there today.
I want people all over to do well. I want the concept of crypto to do well. That can’t happen if we are trying to tear each other down. The more we do, the more the Chavez and Maduro’s of the world will exploit the weakness we ourselves are showing.