Cryptocurrencies get more popular in Venezuela

Dozens of merchants in Caracas prefer Dash over cash

By Andrea Torres - Digital Reporter/Producer

Dozens in Valencia attend a workshop to learn how to use Dash. Courtesy of Dash Caracas

MIAMI - Black market vendors for food and medicines have been accepting cryptocurrencies for years in Venezuela, but more and more merchants are publicly identifying as crypto friendly to avoid the Venezuelan bolivar.

Even Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro prefers Petro, the government's oil-backed cryptocurrency, over the bolivar -- which is now worth less than the virtual gold of Azeroth in the World of Warcraft game.     

Venezuelans in South Florida have been using apps such as Cryptobuyer on their mobile phones to send funds to help their families back home. Cryptobuyer, a Venezuelan start up, is based in Panama and provides a free Bitcoin debit card in Venezuela. 

Bitcoin rules the world, but in Venezuela, Dash -- formerly known as Xcoin and DarkCoin -- is far more popular. Bitcoin is priced at about $8,170, and Dash is priced at nearly $250. 

Dozens of merchants in Caracas are flaunting Dash stickers, including the beauty salon Amerika, Subway and the Tu Pana Market, according to the Dash listings.  The Polo and Calvin Klein store at the Tolon Fashion Mall are also among the merchants. 

Dash Caracas has invested on education and is expanding the number of merchants that accept the currency. On social media, they are using #EmprendedorDash to feature businesses that are adapting. Dash executives believe Caracas may be considered the crypto capital of the world. 

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