South America

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.

Venezuela

Police attempt to steal $15,000 in Bitcoin from Bitcoin miner: Venezuela’s police has continued its crackdown against cryptocurrency traders and miners with one miner reporting that the local police tried to steal USD 15,000 worth of cryptocurrencies from him, according to local news.

Venezuela is in the midst of an economic crisis right now with the total outstanding foreign debt hovering around USD 141 billion according to latest figures by Moody’s Investor Service. The government has virtually been in default since last November with inflation hitting record levels around 13,000%, rendering the local currency worthless.

Many Venezuelans see cryptocurrencies as a means of survival against the crushing inflation and mining is gaining popularity but the government under President Nicholas Maduro is banking on its cryptocurrency Petro and is bent on eliminating the competition from the local market to increase the appeal of the currency.

According to Bloomberg, a Venezuelan businessman reported that the police raided his house and tried to extort USD 15,000 from him, threatening to take away all of his mining equipment and the mined cryptocurrencies with them. Eventually, the Venezuelan had to gather his belongings and make way to the Colombian border.

Government bans import of crypto miners: The Venezuelan customs has reportedly outlawed ASICs and GPU mining equipment and is confiscating everything it can fin,d according to latest reports from the beleaguered South American nation.

Cryptocurrencies have been banned in the restive country following the government’s audacious decision to launch its own oil-backed state cryptocurrency Petromoneda. While Petro has failed to gain international recognition, other cryptocurrencies are being adopted by local populace but the government is now fighting back and initiating sweeping crackdowns.

Brazil

Exchange banned in China enters Brazil: Huobi cryptocurrency exchange has opened a new office in Sao Paulo with an intention to enter this big Brazilian market, according to Coindesk. The move marks one of many new entrants to the local market as the cryptocurrency boom engulfs the biggest South American nation.

Huobi was officially founded in China but once the cryptocurrency trading was completely banned by the Chinese government, Huobi moved to other parts of the world, with Brazil a realistic target. Other cryptocurrency exchanges may also open their offices in the country following government bans in other parts of the world.

Argentina

Bitcoin non-profits creating awareness on crypto: After the government announced an intention to open thousands of crypto ATMs across the country, two Bitcoin non-profits are engaging in a mass campaign to spread knowledge about cryptocurrencies, according to CoinTelegraph reports.

The two non-profits, Bitcoin Argentina and Bitcoin Americana, are touring the rural areas of the country to spread knowledge of cryptocurrencies and their incredible usefulness among the larger population that may have missed the crypto revolution due to remote locations.

According to local news source Infobae, the movement has been christened as “Bitcoineta” by both the startups, which means “Bitcoin van” in Spanish, because their movement involves a Bitmobile of sorts touring each village and spreading information. The ‘Bitmobile’ is equipped with a projector and other multimedia to help in the presentations to the local populace.

The Bitcoin movement has been greeted with enthusiasm across the country as it battles chronic inflation. Investing in cryptocurrencies is seen as a way to conserve the value of money in the hands of Argentinians like other areas experiencing hyperinflation.

Argentina declared top destination for tourists aiming to pay in Bitcoin: Software developer turned traveler Felix Weiss has toured the world with only Bitcoin in his wallet and has rated Argentina among other countries as one of the top places for tourists who are willing to use popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether.

Some airlines have started accepting payment in cryptocurrencies. Shopping has especially become easier as more and more businesses start accepting cryptocurrencies, according to Weiss.

A Bitcoin ATM is often seen as a last resort and Argentina is close to becoming a leader in Bitcoin ATMs shortly with over 30,000 machines planned.

 

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