How bitcoin can help you escape a dictatorship

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Let’s just imagine that you live in a country ruled by an authoritarian-type president like in Venezuela and you want to save yourselves (and maybe your country). There’s violence, no jobs, no food and all that jazz. What options do you have?

  • Democracy
  • Civil disobedience
  • Free press
  • Emigrate

Let’s explore each of these options using Venezuela’s situation as an example and see where they take us.

Democracy doesn’t work against dictatorships

Participating in elections, writing to your congresswoman/men, reaching out to international organisations such as the UN for help, maybe even impeachment? All these actions work only if you are living in democracy.

Venezuela has been ruled by a single-party system since 1999 (that’s 20 years y’all 😮)

I was a 12-year-old kid when they took power. So, I didn’t even have a chance to vote against them coming to power in the first place. The populist party has won every general election through cheating, massive campaign expending and force. So, you are shit outta luck, democracy has failed you.

Venezuela water crisis
Due to blackouts in March this year, Venezuelan nationals cue to collect water supplies from the city sewage system.

Civil disobedience fails against an army

Let’s flood the streets with bodies and paralyse the cities until the government has no option but to step down! Right?

Wrong, your government uses military and police forces to control and oppress the population.

Basically, if you are unhappy with your government and you feel like going out to demonstrate, you will most certainly get attacked by anti-riot squats, get gassed and even killed.

José Victor Salazar cover in flames after a motorcycle gas tank exploded next to him during confrontations with the national riot police in May 2017.

Press only works when is FREE

Yes, let’s use the free press to show to the world the realities of our country. No one can take freedom of speech away from us. Right?

Wrong again. The Venezuelan government has absolute control over means of communication.

Virtually, all TV channels, written press and radio are directly or indirectly owned by the state. People live in absolute misinformation, your best news sources are Facebook and Whatsapp; and we all know how trustworthy those sources are.

🤷‍♀️ What do we have left when all fails?

Emigrate: let’s get the hell out of dodge.

Even though emigrating to a new country might be the best potion we’ve got, there’s a few obstacles we need to overcome before leaving a dictatorship behind:

  • Trading with foreign currencies in Venezuela is ilegal. Even though there’s a black market for USD and Euro, we might have a hard time buying a flight ticket.
  • Getting a passport can cost you up to $5,000. The government doesn’t officially forbids you to leave the country (like Cuba or North Korea) but it makes it damn hard for most of the population to even afford it.

Even if we don’t have a passport, we can literally walk across the Venezuelan-Colombian or Brazil border and make our way to a better life.

We need cash though, all the cash we can get so we can start again somewhere else.

Luckily for us, we own an apartment located in the east side of the capital city valued at $250,000 in 2015. Sadly, due to the country’s hyperinflation that same piece of real state is now worth only $50,000.

Venezuela’s hyperinflation hits a record in 2018 with over 1,698,488%

We still want to sell that apartment. But, what do we sell it for?

  • Bolivars (the local currency)
  • USD
  • Bitcoin

The worst option: the Bolivar

Carrying out that transaction using the local currency would be way too risky as the value of the Bolivar can drop from one day to the other, dragging the value of the estate with it.

The most common option: the USD

We would usually turn to the US Dollar and use a foreign bank account to conduct the transaction. However, to hold and transact with foreign currency in Venezuela is illegal. 

On top of that, getting that bank account in Panama, United States or Ecuador will costs us a lot of money. It’s also risky, as US sanctions on Venezuela could lead to a full shot down of our Dollar bank account.

The out-of-the-box option: Bitcoin

Here are some of the advantages of doing this transaction with BTC:

  • Bitcoin is bank and government independent. No one will be able to shot down our account.
  • Cheap to transact with. It will cost very little to convert BTC to say, Dollar or any other currency.
  • It’s safe. You hold your assets in cold storage and it would be impossible for a bad actor steal them from you.

However, Bitcoin’s biggest disadvantage in this case is its volatility. In December 2017, the price of this cryptocurrency dropped over 80%.

What can we do about Bitcoin volatility?

Using Vaultoro to exchange it into a stable store of value: investment-grade (99.99%) physical gold. 

That way we hedge against the risk of BTC’s price fluctuation and have access to our holdings digitally once we have settled in the new country, without the need for a banking institution.

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