World Bank can not use bitcoin to send aid to Venezuelans, according to Human Rights Foundation CSO Alex Gladstein

The Open Money Initiative, a Human Rights Foundation-sponsored field research project focused on Venezuela, has found an opportunity for international organizations like the World Bank to use bitcoin to provide aid to Venezuelan citizens in need.

Currently, humanitarian organizations can not directly send money into the country due to the government's objection to foreign aid. However, they can take advantage of bitcoin and privately transfer funds in the form of digital assets, said Human Rights Foundation CSO Alex Gladstein.

International organizations and non-profits can simply convert their currencies into bitcoins and send the assets to local marketplaces, he explained. Local operators want to convert the received bitcoins into Bolivars and use them to purchase food and whatever supplies the Venezuelan population is in need of.

According to Gladstein, there are currently many peer-to-peer marketplaces in Venezuela that can be used to trade between Fiat and Bitcoin. LocalBitcoins is one of the most popular ones, observing more daily trading volumes than those of the Caracas stock exchange, he said.

However, Gladstein said that the high-profile organizations like the World Bank are unwilling to adopt this approach to the Venezuelan government.

"Bitcoin and sending it to Bitcoin, but they will not," he said. "Meanwhile, people suffer. It's just unfortunate. "

Besides political resistance, the proposed plan to send aid through bitcoin could also suffer from a lack of access. For example, the Open Money Initiative has learned this earlier this year, LocalBitcoins was available on laptops and not on mobile phones. Added to the context of what Localbitcoins could offer was largely limited.

Gladstein told The Block that the Open Money Initiative is working to overcome both political and accession issues by engaging organizations and private companies in this movement.

Bitcoin are making an impact and can be useful tools to help people, "he said. "It's important to get out of the bubble of the cryptocurrency industry and to show the mainstream that this can make a difference."

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