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Venezuelan Minimum Wage Reaches $3 as More Venezuelans Take Refuge in Cryptocurrencies – Emerging Markets Bitcoin News

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Venezuelan Minimum Wage Reaches  as More Venezuelans Take Refuge in Cryptocurrencies – Emerging Markets Bitcoin News


The president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, approved a minimum wage raise increase last week that took it to three dollars monthly, a very low income for the citizens of the country that are facing a strong economic crisis since 2013. However, the crypto environment has been growing, and now Venezuelans are flocking to exchanges like Binance and Localbitcoins, platforms that are now serving thousands of Venezuelan users monthly with their peer-to-peer offerings destined to preserve the value of their money.

Venezuela’s Minimum Wage Raised to $3 Monthly

Earlier this week. Nicolas Maduro, president of Venezuela, announced a minimum wage raise through its Labour minister, Eduardo Piñate, in a public support rally to Maduro’s government.

The raise of 300% takes the minimum wage to an approximated value of three U.S. dollars monthly, a number that is insufficient to cover the basic needs of a family even for a day. According to ground reports, one kilogram of meat costs about $3.75, making this increase useless to tackle the devaluation of the local currency, the Bolivar, and the subsequent increase in prices.

Venezuelan Minimum Wage Reaches $3 as More Venezuelans Take Refuge in Cryptocurrencies

Venezuelans have faced economic turbulence since 2013, due to the poor management of the national treasury and an increased set of sanctions applied by the U.S. State Department, that have destroyed the buying power of the everyday citizen.

While it’s very difficult to find official numbers for inflation, private institutions like CENDA, a worker-based organization with the objective of documenting prices, estimated that the value of the minimum basket of goods for a working family ascended to $229.92 in March. This means that each family would need a total of eight minimum wages each day to fulfill its basic necessities.

However, Venezuelans have flocked to working outside the country through electronic means, using cryptocurrencies as payment methods and also as a store of value to refuge from inflation, that according to CNBC, reached 10,000,000% from 2018 to 2019, topping the 2020 misery index.

Venezuelans Flock to Crypto Solutions

As a consequence of all the bleak economic panorama the country is facing, Venezuelans have had to take different paths to preserve the buying power of their money, flocking to crypto-related work and exchange organizations to do so. This has resulted in an increase of interest from some Venezuelans to these structures.

Venezuelaworkers.com, a website that lets users advertise their capabilities to employers from outside, has experienced big growth in this period. In just the last year, it just went from a skeleton site to host work profiles from thousands of Venezuelans. Oscar Salas, CEO of the company that serves as a rendezvous point for freelancers, stressed that they have grown immensely, and now offer their services to more than 4,000 users and 400 employers.

“In terms of activity, we have sustained stable numbers in the last months. Our current objective is to incentivize the use of cryptocurrencies while improving and finding solutions to adapt us to the experience of our users “

Venezuelans are also going big in solutions that let them exchange their money from cryptocurrencies to the national fiat currency, the bolivar. While Localbitcoins volumes in the country have plummeted in the last months (according to data from Coin Dance), a new alternative has risen since Binance opened its peer-to-peer service last year.

Mariangel Garcia, community manager for Binance in Latin America, declared that this option had experienced exponential growth since its launch. While Binance hasn’t offered exact numbers this year, Garcia stressed in an interview with Diario Bitcoin that just during the first three months of 2020, more than $450 million were exchanged from and to local currency using their P2P platform, being Venezuela one of their markets with the biggest growth.

What do you think about the new minimum wage in Venezuela? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.

Tags in this story
BCH, binance p2p, Bitcoin, bitcoin cash, BTC, Cryptocurrency, minimum wage, Nicolas Maduro, Sanctions, Venezuela, venezuelaworkers

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.





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Interview: CEO of OKEx Jay Hao and the Lightning Network Team on Platform’s Adoption of Bitcoin Layer-2 Scalability Solution

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Interview: CEO of OKEx Jay Hao and the Lightning Network Team on Platform’s Adoption of Bitcoin Layer-2 Scalability Solution


The leading global crypto exchange and derivatives trading platform OKEx recently announced support for Bitcoin’s scalability solution, Lightning Network. Regarding the new development, we had the opportunity to interact with Jay Hao, CEO of OKEx and the Lightning Network (LN) team. We asked them few questions and this is what they had to say.

Q: Is it true that OKEx is going to adopt the Bitcoin Lightning Network? How is it going to work in OKEx’s context?

Jay Hao (OKEx): Yes! We began our integration journey with the help of Lightning Labs in January and recently completed the integration of the Lightning Network. This means that OKEx will become a participating node in the network and users on the OKEx exchange will be able to select the Lightning Network option when they want to deposit or withdraw Bitcoin for cheaper and faster transactions.

Q: What are the foreseeable benefits of Lightning Network for OKEx as well as its userbase?

Jay Hao (OKEx): For OKEx, we are thrilled to be able to support the development of the Bitcoin ecosystem by partnering with Lightning Labs and increasing the number of participating nodes in the Lightning Network. This partnership highlights our deep commitment to the continued growth of the space and, for our users, it provides them with the benefits of greatly reduced transaction times and fees – they can send and receive BTC almost instantly and at next-to-no cost.

LN: OKEx’s Lightning Network integration brings a massive UX upgrade to bitcoin for their users. Deposits and withdrawals over Lightning are almost instant and nearly free, especially compared to on-chain transactions. On-chain bitcoin is the slowest asset moving around the crypto financial system, but Lightning makes it the fastest, opening up new use cases like inter-exchange arbitrage and instantly topping up margin during periods of high volatility. We are excited for OKEx’s users to experience the benefits of bitcoin over Lightning.

Q: Can you give us some insights into the entire process of collaborating with OKEx to implement Lightning Network?

LN: OKEx made it easy! Our open-source code and documentation at docs.lightning.engineering simplifies the onboarding process and makes it easy for anyone to integrate Lightning. OKEx utilized our publicly available resources and our team was available to answer questions to support the process. Another great resource for implementation is the LND Developer Slack, where our team and the entire community is available to answer questions and help newcomers onboard to Lightning.

Q: The recent Bitcoin bull run drove a lot of people towards crypto trading platforms resulting in a surge in traffic and trading volumes. How is OKEx handling it? Will the implementation of Lightning Network make any difference if a similar scenario repeats in the future?

Jay Hao (OKEx): It’s true, we have seen a large increment in our user base from all around the globe. In the APAC region alone, trading volume shot up 3x from September 2020 until now. We are continually upgrading our infrastructure to ensure a smooth onboarding experience for new customers and a seamless trading experience for existing customers. Integrating the Lightning Network will allow them all to obtain cheaper and fast transactions. This is just one of the ways in which we aim to make OKEx their platform of choice.

Q: Where does the development of Lightning Network stand at the moment? What are the future plans to further improve Bitcoin’s L2 solution?

LN: The Lightning Network is fairly stable at this point. As node operators have learned how best to manage their liquidity, payment success rates are continuing to grow and end-user adoption is increasing. OKEx joining the network is a huge vote of confidence, and we expect their users to be impressed by how fast and cheap bitcoin transactions can be. Future improvements will be focused on UX with features like Atomic Multipath Payments (AMP) that allow for static invoices, and on optimizations enabling higher throughput for use cases like streaming payments and high-frequency trading.

Q: Will it be possible for you to let our readers know how many exchanges and trading platforms are currently using Lightning Network?

LN: There are over 15 exchanges currently using the Lightning Network, tracked in this community repository. Bitrefill recently announced that in Q1 they began receiving payments over the Lightning Network from 105 different countries! So usage is very widespread.

Q: What are the steps taken by your team to further popularize the Lightning Network?

LN: The majority of our work is behind the scenes, building the infrastructure that Lightning-enabled companies like OKEx depend on. When end-users are exposed to the dramatically improved experience of Lightning payments over on-chain payments, Lightning speaks for itself. We do shine a spotlight on the growing Lightning community in our monthly newsletter, and host biweekly voice chat rooms on Clubhouse and on Discord for those that want to learn directly from our team.

Q: What are your thoughts about the future of Bitcoin as the price continues to rise? Will it ever become a layman’s currency, or will it just end up reinforcing its position as an investment instrument?

Jay Hao (OKEx): We are still in the early days of adoption and, as each new wave of adopters onboards, we see increased volatility, which leads to many analysts and naysayers to point to Bitcoin’s inefficiency as a medium of exchange. Moreover, as the cryptocurrency appreciates in value, it is natural that its attractiveness as a store of value increases. However, I do believe that Bitcoin has the potential to become a dominant form of money. I don’t think that it will be the only one but, with the increased improvement and adoption of technologies like the Lightning Network making it easier and faster to use, and as more people transfer over to using Bitcoin, there is an ever-increasing case for it to become a layman’s currency. OKEx is proud to play a part in helping to take BTC to the rest of the world.

LN: As previously mentioned, Bitrefill recently announced that they received payments over Lightning from 105 different countries in Q1 of 2021. Bluewallet is seeing 500+% annual user growth in their mobile Lightning wallet product in countries like Brazil, Nigeria, Argentina, and Israel. Strike launched in El Salvador a few weeks ago with their mobile Lightning wallet targeted at remittances and immediately became the most downloaded overall app in the country. They allow end-users to pay Lightning invoices from their fiat-denominated balances so that the user spends dollars but the receiver earns bitcoin.

Bitcoin is a currency for everyone! It is already serving a widely distributed group of users. While hodling is still the dominant use case for bitcoin, it’s much more than just a digital rock, especially when lifted into the Lightning Network. As more people worldwide switch to the Bitcoin standard, we expect this trend to continue.

Q: Anything you would like to add?

Jay Hao (OKEx): It is our belief that the cryptocurrency industry can only grow through collaboration. By working together, industry participants can help achieve the goal of advancing cryptocurrency globally and empowering individuals to achieve financial freedom. We couldn’t be happier to be able to take this next step forward with such an innovative partner in Lightning Labs.

LN: We are on a mission to promote financial freedom by bringing bitcoin to the next billion people with the Lightning Network. Every new node strengthens Lightning’s network effect, especially when the new node has as many users as OKEx. We are thrilled that OKEx has upgraded their bitcoin UX for users, allowing them to transfer value instantly and cheaply with the same security assurances as on-chain bitcoin.

 





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Moneygram Lets Customers Buy and Sell Bitcoin With Cash at 12,000 Locations – Featured Bitcoin News

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Moneygram Lets Customers Buy and Sell Bitcoin With Cash at 12,000 Locations – Featured Bitcoin News


Moneygram will start letting customers buy and sell bitcoin at 12,000 locations, thanks to a partnership with Coinme. The collaboration “will bring bitcoin to thousands of new point-of-sale locations in the U.S. with plans to expand to select international markets in the second half of 2021,” the companies say.

Bitcoin at Moneygram Locations

Moneygram International Inc. and Coinme, a licensed crypto-to-cash exchange in the U.S., announced Wednesday the “launch of a new partnership to enable the cash funding and payout of digital currency purchases and sales.”

A global leader in cross-border P2P payments and money transfers, Moneygram serves nearly 150 million people across the globe over the last five years. Coinme is a crypto exchange and ATM operator that currently powers over 20,000 physical locations to buy and sell bitcoin using cash through partnerships with Coinstar and Moneygram.

The collaboration “will bring bitcoin to thousands of new point-of-sale locations in the U.S., with plans to expand to select international markets in the second half of 2021,” the companies detailed. The new service will create “global cash on and off-ramps” to “ensure access to bitcoin.”

According to the announcement:

The Moneygram and Coinme integration will provide a fast and easy way for customers to purchase bitcoin with cash and withdraw bitcoin holdings in cash.

Initially, the service will be available at select Moneygram locations in the U.S. in the coming weeks. However, the companies plan to add more countries and cryptocurrencies shortly thereafter. According to Coinme’s website, the service is “available at 12,000 Moneygram locations.”

Bitcoin buying and selling are available at 12,000 Moneygram locations. Source: Coinme

The companies noted that the new service “is specially designed for customers who may be interested in utilizing bitcoin for the first time.”

Alex Holmes, Moneygram’s CEO, opined:

This innovative partnership opens our business to an entirely new customer segment as we are the first to pioneer a crypto-to-cash model by building a bridge with Coinme to connect bitcoin to local fiat currency.

What do you think about Moneygram’s new bitcoin service? Let us know in the comments section below.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.





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Bitcoin car will race at the Indianapolis 500

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Bitcoin car will race at the Indianapolis 500


A car and driver branded with the Bitcoin logo will be racing in circles against 32 others in this month’s Indianapolis 500.

According to a blog post from Zap CEO Jack Mallers, U.S. racing driver Ed Carpenter will be in control of the “orange-spotted, Bitcoin-covered, engineering beast” scheduled to appear at the Indy 500 on May 30. Carpenter, who became a Bitcoiner over the last year, reportedly forfeited all traditional sponsors in favor of driving the Bitcoin (BTC) car, #21 in the event.

“I don’t want to race for chips or beer this year,” said Carpenter. “I’ve worked my entire life to race at the Indy 500 and have earned the platform that I have, and this year, I want to find a way to incorporate Bitcoin.”

Source: Jack Mallers

Mallers and the racecar driver are continuing to raise donations from crypto enthusiasts and plan to use 70% of all proceeds to fund open-source Bitcoin development, with the remaining used to fund the Bitcoin car and for Indianapolis charities. Ross Stevens, executive chair of New York Digital Investment Group, reportedly pitched in $250,000, with Mallers contributing $25,000 and his Strike payments and remittances app donating $100,000. Other notable contributors include Anthony ‘Pomp’ Pompliano, NFL star Russell Okung, and Peter McCormack, host of the What Bitcoin Did podcast.

“This isn’t the Strike car, the Coinbase car, the Kraken car […] this is the Bitcoin car,” said Mallers. “In a world of potato chip and energy drinks sponsors, Ed chose to race for human freedom, financial literacy, financial inclusivity, savings technology, and Bitcoin open-source development.”

Crypto has found its way into racing events before. Last year, a Cash App car driven by Darrell ‘Bubba’ Wallace, featured the iconic BTC logo in NASCAR’s top racing series. In addition, Crypto.com partnered with Aston Martin to sponsor the car manufacturer’s Formula 1 team.