Some spectators have cited the apparently explosive increase of Bitcoin trading volume in Venezuela as evidence that the flagship cryptocurrency is being used as a hedge, or safe haven, in face of social, political, and economic turmoil…
However, others are keen to point out that measuring BTC trading volume in Venezuela using the local currency – the Venezuelan Bolivar – is not a reliable indicator, as the currency is severely unstable. In fact, the ticker for the bolivar, VES, is a new addition: in August 2018 the country begun an attempt to transition away from the bolivar fuerte (the latter meaning ‘strong’), due to hyperinflation. As such the bolivar soberano (meaning ‘sovereign’), or VES, should serve as a reminder of how volatile the Venezuelan bolivar continues to be.
With these data-skewing restraints in mind, some have turned to analysing Bitcoin volumes alone, however this also conceals large fluctuations in BTC price experienced over the past few years.
Given these dual constraints, websites such as Coin Dance, which are popular in analysing country-by-country LocalBitcoins volume, are not so useful for countries with unstable local currencies. For charts like those found on Coin Dance to be useful in analysing volumes between and across countries, they need to have a consistent non-crypto currency peg.
As such, we decided to analyse the LocalBitcoins trading volume in Venezuela by pegging it to the US dollar (USD).
We used data from CoinMarketCap to retrospectively assign the BTC-USD price for each of the weekly BTC trading volume recordings that Coin Dance provides for Venezuela. We did this for the past 3 years; deciding there was no need to go further back as volumes only increased to meaningful levels in 2017.
A simple equation provides us with Venezuelan LocalBitcoins trading volume estimates in USD:
BTC Volume x USD-BTC Price = USD-BTC Volume
Without further ado, here’s the outcome:
In the interest of transparency, feel free to download the data here: Venezuelan Bitcoin trading volume in USD.