Billions of Bolivars Flow to Venezuela’s New Safety Heaven.

Illustration of bitcoins

The amount of bitcoin trading in Venezuela soared by 30 percent reaching 24 billion Venezuelan Bolivars, to hit its all-time high. With an inflation rate of 3 million percent, Venezuelans have been on the look-out for a safe place to put their cash.

The excessive volume of bitcoin trading in Venezuela hasn’t affected the Bitcoin price, though. The Bitcoin’s price is stuck in its two-year lows trading at about $3,600.

The government, however, has announced measures to keep a check on cryptocurrency trading. The limit for the cryptocurrency trading will be established at $3,000.

Last year, Nicholas Maduro launched Venezuela’s own cryptocurrency — petro, backed by oil, aiming to protect the suffering economy and maintain international transactions, including financial obligations.

The rich-oil, cash-poor country also sets sights on protecting citizens from hyperinflation and is converting pensioners’ monthly payouts from bolivars to petro in a mandatory order. After Bolivars hit people’s accounts, the money is exchanged to cryptocurrency without any permission from recipients. Local banks are instructed to make petro an official alternative currency in the country.

All efforts to use petro as a substitute for the value-leaking Bolivar may come to an end if a self-declared, U.S. supported, Venezuelan president, Juan Guaido, officially comes to power. Petro was heavily opposed by American authorities as it was seen as a Maduro’s mechanism to circumvent sanctions. The U.S. government made it illegal for American citizens to invest in petro. If Maduro is unseated and the sanctions on Venezuela are lifted, the future of funds converted in petro would be hazy.