While Venezuela’s oil-backed cryptocurrency, the Petro (PTR) is being launched via an initial coin offering (ICO), its residents are not enamored with it as a viable cryptocurrency. ZCash (ZEC), on the other hand, has emerged as a force to be reckoned with.
Over the last few years, Venezuela has been dealing with one of the deepest recession ever. Its native fiat currency, the bolivar, is out of control with an 8,000 percent hyperinflation.
Various citizens fled the country as supply chains for food and medical supplies continue to collapse. Some have resorted to hoarding dollars and cryptocurrencies in order to pay for increasingly expensive daily items.
Petro has innumerable opponents; from the country’s National Assembly to US president Donald Trump. The oil-backed cryptocurrency is seen as one with all the potential to be abused by members of Venezuela's ruling socialist party.
ZCash has, therefore, become one of the assured means for families to find economic stability while the country falls into deeper chaos. Reports suggest the privacy-centric cryptocurrency is now being used in the country, to give Venezuelans access to other currencies and supplies.
Zcash is also being used as an intermediary currency used as a gateway to access USD via cryptocurrency exchanges. Zcash’s founder and chief executive, Zeeko Wilcox, has since partnered with Mexico-based peer-to-peer exchange, AirTM.
So far, over 168,000 Venezuelans actively participate in exchanges using the platform. This number is bound to increase as the situation progresses in the country. AirTM's founder and CEO Ruben Galindo Steckel has expressed desire to help individuals needing support. He said:
"We're just helping Zcash get access to the people who need it most. Not necessarily the people in the States who like privacy, but the people in Venezuela who have been oppressed."
While Venezuela’s government is busy launching the Petro, some of the oil-backed cryptocurrency’s opponents have claimed it won’t help the country’s residents in any way, but is merely a way to help the government acquire foreign investments, bypassing US sanctions.
Cryptocurrencies succeed in Venezuela as they hold more value than the bolivar. Several charitable organizations, including “Eat BCH,” are trying to help Venezuelans stay afloat using cryptocurrencies.