Lebanese Mint, Keep, Spend Crypto Amid Crisis, Report Unveils – Economics Bitcoin News

Living in the chaos of a deep crisis, people in Lebanon have turned to cryptocurrencies, a new media report has confirmed. From earning much needed income through mining and working, to storing wealth and paying in stores, bitcoin, tether and other cryptocurrencies have begun to rip off the hyper-inflated Lebanese pound. deflation and the hard-to-hold US dollar aside.

Cryptocurrency becomes a lifeline for some Lebanese trying to end the Meltdown meet

With the capital Beirut once known as the “Paris of the Middle East”, before the civil war broke out in 1975, and known as an offshore banking destination that competed with Switzerland, after the conflict ended. in 1990, for the past few years, Lebanon has been According to the World Bank.

The country fell into crisis in 2019 and their government defaulted on its government debt in early 2020, as did the Covid pandemic that was spreading across the globe. With losses of up to $70 billion at local banks, according to Goldman Sachs, inflationary expected to reach 178% this year, as predicted by Fitch and almost 80% of the population living below the poverty line, according to United Nations estimates, cryptocurrency has started to look like a lifesaver for some, CNBC noted in a report. .

The broadcaster reached out to some locals, for whom decentralized digital cryptocurrency has become a lifeline. While cryptocurrency adoption takes different forms in each case – from mining dogecoin and earning bitcoins, to spending in tether – all of these Lebanese citizens hail access to one money makes sense to them in their current circumstances. Their experience is best described in the words of Georgio Abou Gebrael, a 27-year-old architect from a small town near Beirut, who now earns half of his income through freelance work. Electronic payments found online:

Bitcoin has really given us hope. I was born in my village, I’ve lived here all my life and bitcoin has kept me here.

Others like Ahmad Abu Daher, a 22-year-old graduate of the American University of Beirut, have recognized the potential of cryptocurrency mining as a profitable venture. More than two years ago, he started minting ether, when it was still based on proof of work consensus mechanism. He is using electricity generated from a hydroelectric project on the Litani River in southern Lebanon.

Starting with just three mining rigs, Daher and his friends set up their own crypto farm and are now hosting rigs for others. One of them is Rawad El Hajj, 27, a marketing degree holder, who has dozens of litecoin and dogecoin mints at Daher’s premises, making over $400 a month for him.

Bitcoin, Tether Used to Store Value, Means of Payment in Lebanon

Bitcoin has replaced fiat in payments from abroad for the likes of Gebrael, who says that accepting US dollars means receiving a much smaller amount than the original deposit and in pounds. Older brother. Lebanon has also traditionally relied on remittances, exceeding a quarter of its gross domestic product in 2004. But pharmacist Marcel Younes primarily uses cryptocurrencies as a store of value. The man withdrew the entire amount from his bank in 2019 and has since converted 70% of his cash into bitcoin.

When asked how reliable it is to hold wealth in an asset that has lost 70% in the past year, Younes told CNBC he isn’t too worried about the price of the asset. BTC when he bought his coin when it was around $20,000 and reminded that the top coin only sold for $3,500 three years ago.

Other Lebanese are more confident in tether (USDT), the stablecoin is pegged to the US dollar. “We start by selling and buying USDT because the amount of demand on USDT is very high,” admits Abu Daher, a miner who is also providing a cryptocurrency exchange.

Although the law prohibits the use of cryptocurrencies as a means of payment, more and more businesses are starting to make payments in Tether and other coins. “There are a lot of coffee shops, restaurants and electronics stores that accept USDT as a payment, so it’s convenient if I don’t need to spend it in fiat, but from my bitcoin savings,” said Gebrael, the young architect who relies on crypto to fund monthly budget patch said.

Cards in this story

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Do you expect crypto to attract more Lebanese users if the crisis in their country deepens? Let us know in the comments section below.

Lubomir Tassev

Lubomir Tassev is a tech-savvy Eastern European journalist who likes Hitchens’ quote: “Becoming a writer is in my nature, rather than what I do”. Besides cryptocurrency, blockchain and fintech, international politics and economics are two other sources of inspiration.

Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

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