Dash Making Inroads With Venezuelan Merchants Thanks To Local Entrepreneurs

FinTech, Innovation, News, Regulation | October 2, 2018 By:

A group of Venezuelan businessmen has achieved what some believed impossible for a country in dire economic straits: they have popularized the use of the Dash cryptocurrency and have more than one hundred daily transactions recorded in shops as a means of payment, for goods ranging from sandwiches to automotive parts.

The young entrepreneurs have formed three companies (Dash Merchant, Dash Help Venezuela, and Dash Text) and have already affiliated more than a thousand Venezuelan businesses, a figure that was topped about a month ago.

“Dash is a cryptocurrency that is mainly based on being a means of payment: to be fast, to have almost imperceptible commissions, and to be an open cryptocurrency, exchangeable by any cryptoactive and any fiduciary currency worldwide,” said Alejandro Echeverría , director of Dash Venezuela.

Being divisible up to eight times after the comma (its minimum unit is 0.00000001 dash), it accepts very small purchases to huge payments. Currently, Dash is far short of its maximum historical value of almost $1,500 USD, achieved at the end of last year. But it has stabilized around $200 USD for several months. Its market capitalization is approximately $1.5 million USD.

The Dash name means Digital Cash, which shows the intention of its creator, Evan Duffield, to popularize the cryptocurrency for trade. Duffield was a bitcoin programmer that in 2014 issued a series of recommendations to improve that cryptocurrency. Because he was not heeded, he decided to launch his own coin. 

Commercial advantages

Echeverría and his team consider Dash as an alternative to the hassles represented by fiat money in a Venezuelan economy that has been suffering from hyperinflation for more than a year. It is a situation where the whole socialist model presents unequivocal symptoms of collapse: lack of cash; failures due to saturation of the electronic payment system through banking; and abrupt variations of the exchange value of the national currency, among other problems.

After the Venezuelan government announced the launch of the oil-based Petro and declared all cryptocurrencies legal, the entrepreneurs redoubled their efforts to promote Dash as a viable alternative for local merchants. That consisted of old-fashioned salesmanship, visiting mom and pop stores and larger retail chains throughout the country to convince them to accept the cryptocurrency.

They achieved a particularly good reception in the franchise sector, where Subway, Papa John’s, Juanchi’s  Burger, Susy Cookies and the Roasted, fast food chains all, welcomed the cryptocurrency with enthusiasm. Likewise, some real estate agencies welcomed the potential payment system. All were sectors where the wide variation of prices in fiat currencies created a huge weight when calculating profits or losses.

“With Dash you do not need cash. The point of sale, due to the lack of cash, is collapsing. The method of payment with Dash is peer-to-peer by phone, and sent directly. In Venezuela, there is a community of ten thousand people using Dash, and this opens the possibilities for the other businesses,” said Echeverría, who mentioned the currency’s flexibility. “Dash is interchangeable – it is as if you were charging in dollars and pricing in bolivars. You have your prices in bolivars, are charged in Dash, and are transferred directly to dollars, legally.”

In a country where carrying a US dollar is potentially illegal (despite a recent ruling that decriminalizes exchange controls), cryptocurrencies as an alternative are extremely attractive. The entrepreneurs figure of 100 transactions per day is more than respectable when ome considers cryptoactives in the country are virtually unknown”

Now, Echeverría and his team are promoting Dash Text (to be able to use the cryptocurrency with non-smart phones, which, due to the general impoverishment of the country, are not working for many Venezuelans), and Dash Help, which started as a support center only for Venezuela, but has also begun to lend help services in all applications from Argentina, Spain, Mexico and Colombia. They also just started providing support service for the United States in English: “It is the first official support center for a cryptocurrency in the world,” said Echeverría.

His goal, for now, is to quickly reach two thousand shops using Dash in Venezuela, and progress  is going at a pace faster than expected. That’s quite an achievement in a country whose economy has shrunk by half in the last five years.

This article was originally published in Spanish at Cripto247