Zimbabweans Seek Solace in Bitcoin

With a downward spiraling economy, citizens of the nation of Zimbabwe are turning to Bitcoins and cryptocurrencies not only as a store of value, but also as a medium of transaction. According to Yeuki Kusangaya who works with Golix, a Zimbabwe-based exchange, more and more Zimbabweans are adopting bitcion and cryptocurrencies in general as alternative currency. One of such uses of cryptocurrency in the country is access to international markets. Bitcoin’s increasing popularity and Zimbabwe’s peculiar liquidity issues has led to an inflated price of the crypto-currency with a current trading value of $9,900 when the global price currently stands at $6,100.

Whiles speaking to local media Mrs. Kasangaya said that “the general trend shows an increase in interest in the bitcoin.” She adds that it is the normal upward growth trajectory that pertains with most innovations.

Zimbabwe is currently experiencing a debilitating financial crisis with an economy which is experiencing acute cash shortages and hyperinflation; citizens are forced to seek alternative means of value storage and transactions.

Mrs. Kasangaya added that Zimbabweans are also making use of bitcoin to access international markets. “Some use it to pay for services provided outside the country, such as software. For example, a local software engineer developing an app can use bitcoin to pay for necessary software tools. Others use bitcoin to say, import a car they can use to run a small business… The good news with using bitcoin is that no foreign currency leaves the country, unlike a situation where the same person was to ask their bank to do a telegraphic transfer… which reduces the country’s pressure on nostro balances.”

Mrs. Kasangay also spoke to Quartz last week where she said that “there is currently more demand than supply of bitcoins… interest in bitcoin has peaked and people cannot send money outside or pay for international transactions using formal banks. People have had to look for alternatives and bitcoin has been a useful solution which can be used to purchase good on Amazon or to pay for vehicles from international suppliers and traders.”

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