One of Venezuela’s largest department stores has reportedly started accepting cryptocurrency payments. According to Reddit user, u/ImViTo, donations from several people allowed her to purchase over 800 items (mostly school supplies and clothing) for $260 in the flagship cryptocurrency, bitcoin.
She also noted that the Venezuelan retail store was accepting payments in dash, ether (ETH), bitcoin cash (BCH), and litecoin (LTC). Moreover, the reddit user said the generous crypto donations were a sign of “real help” and “real adoption” of digital currencies.
Bitcoin Trading Volumes Surge In Venezuela
As CryptoGlobe reported recently, bitcoin trading volumes in Venezuela through peer-to-peer (P2P) cryptocurrency exchange service LocalBitcoins have increased considerably. This may largely be attributed to the rising inflation rates in Venezuela and the country’s struggling economy.
As covered, Venezuela’s government has launched its own cryptocurrency (the Petro), however, extensive investigations have revealed that there is no evidence of the state-backed digital currency being used in international, or day-to-day transactions.
In other countries that have been a target of US-led economic sanctions, such as Iran, there are also signs of increasing cryptocurrency adoption. However, trading digital assets may no longer be as simple as it had been for Iranian citizens.
Binance Forced To Ban Iranian Users From Its Exchange
This, as large crypto exchanges like Binance, Bittrex, and BitMEX have moved towards banning users linked to IP addresses in Iran and those who’ve completed know-your-customer (KYC) checks using Iranian passports.
Local sources in Iran reported recently that they had received emails from Binance’s customer support team that told them withdraw their funds from the exchange.
In the emails, BInance’s representatives reportedly said that the crypto trading platform was being forced to deny services to users in Iran as it had to comply with internationally imposed sanctions on the so-called rogue state. North Korea, which is another isolated country that has been a target of US-led political and economic sanctions, has been trying to use cryptocurrencies to conduct international transactions.
North Korea Uses "Enablers" To Orchestrate Crypto Scams
However, reports strongly suggest that North Korea may also be misusing digital currencies to engage in highly exploitative activities such as attempting to raise funds via “vast” and “illicit” networks.
Notably a cybersecurity firm, the Insikt Group, found that the North Korean leadership has been using advanced internet tools to communicate with their “enablers” in Singapore, Thailand, and various other countries. These “enablers” are reportedly helping North Korea’s government orchestrate large-scale crypto and blockchain-related scams.