Venezuela has gone through a lot of turmoil in the last few years, and one of the most significant changes in its course has been with the entry of Dash. The CEO, Ryan Tayler, recently was the subject of an interview with Crypto Slate, discussing the role that the political situation in Venezuela played in their entry, along with their impact.
Dash, derived from the phrase “Digital Cash,” has been a major part of economic negotiations in Venezuela, due to the way it can be used like cash. The local Bolivar has gone through such substantial inflation that there is simply no way to use it for most people, while the government is been imposing new limitations.
There is plenty of use cases locally for consumers that want to preserve their money and have attempted to use Bitcoin to do so. However, Dash has been the entity most successful with adoption, considering the cheap and fast transactions.
One of the first concerns addressed in the interview was the gap in the market, of which he said,
“There was a bit of recognition from locals in Venezuela for Dash. That started the initial community that has been built. But it was also a recognition that it could be a great market for us.”
Dash came in and made it possible for transactions to take place with cryptocurrency with a service called Cryptobuyer that was already in place in the country, which happened in 2016. Taylor explained that they felt a pull to establish a marketplace in the country to make it easier to perform transactions. Taylor added,
“We recognized that there would be demand there, and there would be an opportunity for us, so we laid the infrastructure to allow that to happen.”
In February 2018, the adoption of Dash allowed 600 merchants to start accepting the Dash coin, which has grown to 2,700 merchants now. Taylor pointed out that this substantial growth came at a time when the bear market was more prevalent. Dash went after merchants themselves to ensure adoption, providing more information about what they can do.
Explaining, Taylor said,
“They [the merchants] did it because it is not just because of the currency, the currency is a big reason, but what we discovered was there are other problems with the payment system there.”
The Venezuelan payment system is sorely lacking after years and years of authoritarian rule, along with the sanctions imposed by the United States. Taylor said,
“The infrastructure goes down; there are limits on the amount people can transfer, the number is so low that one dinner with your friends would wipe it out—if you want to make a large purchase, you need five friends to each pay for a part of it. Cash is completely broken, when you think just use a credit card, even small purchases, that can be a problem, you need something that is cash-like, and we provide that solution without the restrictions.”
The remittance payments offered have become an essential part of the infrastructure of the country. Citizens that have left the country behind have a need to send money to their families but sending in bolivars would basically be useless.
“Over 30,000 people are crossing the border every day, they are doing it out of desperation. They need to send money back to their family. Sending through the bank takes a significant amount of time and high fees. If they have a currency that is digital and useable at merchants throughout the country, then that solves a real problem for them.” Due to the inclusion of cryptocurrency, he adds, “I’ve had people tell me that Dash has saved their lives.”
The benefits of Dash include how it is easy to transact and hard to stop from happening. Taylor noted,
“This isn’t about a need to hedge their way out of the currency, for that there is Bitcoin if you are trying to store wealth. But when it comes to transacting with it, using it like cash, we are the ones out there educating the merchants, getting them signed up, educating the consumers on how they can use it as part of their lives and that what makes it far more relevant than other cryptocurrencies out there.”
This is one of the first countries to be seeking out a way to replace the local currency, considering the hyperinflation. Essentially, anything is better than Bolivar right now, but it’s unclear if Dash can establish a payment system with so little infrastructure, let alone anyone else.