The loss of some is the gain of others, especially the crypto-verse. On September 14, 2020, Paxful announced that it was closing its operations in Venezuela because the OFAC sanctions made it very risky for them to provide their services to Venezuelans. They gave their clients two options: either withdraw their funds in less than 30 days… or move to another country.
The news spread quickly through social media along with an emotional farewell tweet from the team at Paxful LatAm:
“We hope that there will be another opportunity to enter the region again in the near future. This is not the end.” they said
Taking the Opportunity
And as some wept and grieved, others did not hesitate to take advantage of the opportunity. Replies quickly filled with promotions of rival decentralized platforms promising that no political agenda could be used against them… And things turned out well.
A little less than two days after the incident, LocalCoinSwap, a decentralized platform for connecting Bitcoin traders, announced a 230% growth in the number of sessions opened by users in Venezuela.
The tweet went straight to the point, outlining that LocalCoinSwap’s strength was precisely Paxful’s Achilles’ heel: it was not dependant of a government whose current policy focuses on censoring operations with the people of Venezuela:
“We have seen a 230% increase in new user sessions in #Venezuela since @paxful announced its departure from the country! We are resistant to censorship, and we don’t force you to share your private info”.
Venezuela: An Attractive Market for Crypto Trading Businesses
LocalCoinSwap does not intend to miss the opportunity to enter the Venezuelan market. A welcome tweet for Venezuelan users highlighted the platform’s commitment to serving the country. And a blog post with the Venezuelan flag outlined the multiple benefits their customers are getting.
“Hello Venezuela, here we are for you,” it said.
If it weren’t for the unilateral sanctions of the United States, the Venezuelan market could perhaps be one of the most attractive in Latin America for the entire crypto ecosystem. The country is the third-largest p2p Bitcoin trading market globally. It has also attracted Binance, HodlHodl, LocalCryptos, and other crypto firms from around the world.
Although LocalCoinSwap didn’t give any actual figures – neither did Paxful – a 230% increase doesn’t hurt any business. But they certainly have a long way to go in the quest for the attention of Venezuelan traders who love LocalBitcoins almost unanimously.