Flights to Safety
August 14, 2018
Financial headlines over the past week focused on Turkey’s rapidly depreciating lira. Meanwhile many citizens there, ignoring President Erdogan’s calls to exchange gold and foreign currencies to local currency, tapped into the crypto market:
“Bunyamin Yavuz, a cardiologist in Ankara, said he no longer trusts local banks and now buys XRP, monero, lumens, among other cryptocurrencies as part of his investment portfolio. Yavuz told CoinDesk his holdings now consist of 30 percent cryptocurrencies, 20 percent U.S. dollars, and just 10 percent lira.” – Coindesk (August 10, 2018)
Bloomberg News reported this morning that the Turkish lira showed more volatility over the past week than bitcoin had. This “flight to safety” to crypto markets has played out throughout the world over the past few years.
I was in India during demonetisation in November 2016. Overnight, Prime Minister Modi mandated that 500 and 1000 Rupee notes were to be taken out of circulation and were no longer legal tender. His reason for doing so was to wipe out “black money” (undeclared holdings) and counterfeiting – chaos ensued over the next month as money shortages took hold. In order to protect themselves from such a move in the future, many people turned to the crypto market. Bitcoin was priced at a 12-15% premium on Indian exchanges vs US exchanges during that time given the increased demand.
Similarly, in Venezuela, which has seen annual inflation of 4000%+, cryptocurrency serves as a safe haven. In one day this past April, Venezuelans spent a record $1M worth of bolivar to buy bitcoins, often converting them to dollars to bypass currency controls or to pay for goods using dollars instead of the devalued bolivar.
While many of us debate whether bitcoin will ultimately realize Satoshi’s vision of “a new electronic cash system that’s fully peer-to-peer, with no trusted third party” or simply a store of value, it’s important to remember that others worldwide view cryptocurrency as a survival mechanism in response to damaging government monetary policies.
Complete Newsletter linked here: The FPV Blockchain Weekly #26, August 13, 2018