Venezuela’s financial sector has been shut down due to government reaction of the current COVID-19 outbreak which has 33 cases have been reported so far. As a result, Peer to Peer (P2P) trading of Bitcoin has exploded in the country according to LocalBitcoins volume in Venezuela from Coindance.
According to a news report out of Venezuela, a spokesperson from La Superintendencia de Instituciones del Sector Bancario (Sudeban) indicated that only a minimum staff will be enabled to maintain the operation of electronic banking.
“The minimum personnel required for the operation and optimal use of ATMs, internet banking, interbank mobile payment, points of sale and any other form of online banking services will be enabled.”
“…the activities of the financial sector will be suspended until further notice, in the midst of the Alert State that Venezuela is going through, as a result of the arrival of the coronavirus.”
Venezuela is already in a socioeconomic and political crisis and is not prepared to face a massive epidemic with already existing and massive shortages of food staples and basic necessities, including medical supplies. On top of that, the mass emigration of Venezuelan doctors has caused hospitals to deal with chronic staff shortages.
Venezuela has also asked the IMF for $5 billion to tackle coronavirus 33 COVID-19 cases have been reported in South American country.
The catastrophe will likely put a massive dent in Venezuela’s own cryptocurrency, the Petro backed by the country’s oil (the Orinoco in Venezuela contains an estimated world-leading 1.2 trillion barrels of oil resources) and gold reserves (Venezuela has the world’s second-largest exploitable gold reserves total an estimated 10,000 tons).