The daily Bitcoin () trading volume of peer-to-peer (P2P) exchanges has been on the rise over the past two weeks, as President Nicolas Maduro has ordered the nation to go into quarantine as part of measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic, reports Decrypt on March 17, 2020.
Venezuelan Banks Shut Down Indefinitely
The coronavirus pandemic has literally crippled the world economy in recent weeks, as several advanced including Spain and France, have grounded all forms of activities in public places, while also putting in place sweeping restrictions aimed at reducing the spread of the virus.
Bitcoin-friendly Venezuela has also had its fair share of the coronavirus epidemic, with just 33 reported cases in the state. However, President Nicolas Maduro-led government has gone ahead to place the country in quarantine in a bid to contain the pandemic.
In compliance with Maduro’s order, Antonio Morales Rodriguez, head of the SUDEBAN, a major regulator of Venezuela’s banking sector mandated all financial institutions in Venezuela via a letter, to indefinitely suspend operations.
“I am writing this letter to instruct you that, starting Monday, March 16, 2020, all activities involving direct attention to customers, users and the general public through agencies, branches, offices and administrative headquarters throughout the country will be indefinitely shut down.”
Coronavirus Boosts P2P Bitcoin Trading in Venezuela
Per sources close to the matter, the latest government directive has turned out to be a blessing for Venezuela’s fledgling crypto space, as bitcoin trading volume on the nation’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) exchange, LocalBitcoins is currently experiencing its biggest surge since the beginning of 2020.
In the past week, bitcoin trading volume on LocalBitcoins rose from its February high of 491 BTC to 540 BTC, smashing the volume of BTC traded in USD on the platform, which stood at just 479.
In the same vein, P2P bitcoin trading has continued to gain traction in several Latin American nations, due to the coronavirus scare.
As seen on Coin Dance, a community-driven Bitcoin statistics platform, P2P bitcoin trading volume in Columbia rose from just 289 BTC to 403 BTC in just one week, figures last seen in the region in mid-2019.
Also, in Argentina, bitcoin trading volume surpassed the 50 BTC mark for the first time in three years, while Asian giant, China, saw more than six percent premium on bitcoin in over-the-counter (OTC) platforms for the first time.
Dovey Wan, a staunch crypto enthusiast and founding partner of PrimitiveCrypto, tweeted:
“First time I’ve seen such a big Chinese OTC premium during a technically Bitcoin bear market. This can be part of the new paradigm.”
At press time, the price of bitcoin (BTC) is still hovering around the $5,129 price area, with a market capitalization of just$93.75 billion, as seen on CoinMarketCap.