Bitcoin trading in crisis-stricken Venezuela has just hit an all-time high

  • The amount of bitcoin traded in crisis-stricken Venezuela has exploded to reach an all-time high.
  • In the last week, the amount of Bitcoin traded in the oil-rich, but cash-poor, country has soared by 30 percent to 2,454 bitcoins, according to crypto data tracker Coin Dance
Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela's president, speaks next to a stack of 12 Kilogram gold ingots during a news conference on the country's cryptocurrency, known as the Petro, in Caracas, Venezuela, on Thursday, March 22, 2018.
Carlos Becerra | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela's president, speaks next to a stack of 12 Kilogram gold ingots during a news conference on the country's cryptocurrency, known as the Petro, in Caracas, Venezuela, on Thursday, March 22, 2018.

The amount of bitcoin traded in crisis-stricken Venezuela has exploded to reach an all-time high.

It comes at a time when tensions are reaching boiling point, with the country in the midst of the Western Hemisphere's worst humanitarian crisis in recent memory.

In the last week, the amount of Bitcoin traded in the oil-rich, but cash-poor, country has soared by 30 percent to 2,454 bitcoins, according to crypto data tracker Coin Dance. That's equivalent to approximately $8.95 million per week and $1.29 million per day. Bitcoin is currently trading at $3,553.

The dramatic spike in weekly bitcoin trading volumes through to February 11 appears to show residents in Venezuela are opting to hold the world's most popular cryptocurrency instead of their own national currency as a store of value.

Peer-to-peer trading volumes for Bitcoin have risen sharply in recent weeks, with the bolivar currency rendered practically worthless amid soaring hyperinflation.

Petro

President Nicolas Maduro has presided over Venezuela's spiral into its worst-ever economic crisis, with hyperinflation forecast to reach 10 million percent this year.

As a result, some 3 million Venezuelans have fled abroad over the past five years to escape worsening living conditions.

The rising interest for bitcoin and other digital assets in Venezuela has been driven, in large part, by the fast-moving political and economic collapse in the South American country.

In early 2018, Maduro sought to bring an end to a prolonged period of economic turmoil by introducing the so-called petro cryptocurrency.

The petro was designed to help Venezuela's government keep up with international financial obligations at a time when the country's collapsing economy was hit by sanctions from the U.S. and European Union.

Critics have since widely discredited the move, calling the currency a "scam."