When you’re shut out of the global economy, you turn to alternatives to survive.
Venezuela created its own cryptocurrency because of rampant inflation creating a dire economic situation. Iran was preparing a statecoin to help keep its economy functioning in the face of renewed U.S. sanctions.
Palestinians do not have their own nation. But they also face dire economic hardships because of the continuing conflict with Israel. That’s why many Palestinians are also turning to digital money, in this case bitcoin (BTC), to make investments, shop online or even send money out of the area.
Ahmed Ismail, a financial analyst in Gaza, told CoinDesk he thinks there are at least 20 unofficial “exchange” offices in Gaza dealing cryptocurrency to residents.
“Bitcoin, in their opinion, is cheaper, safer, and quicker,” a Gaza currency dealer told CoinDesk about the 50 families a month who have each purchased an average of $500 worth of bitcoin from him over the past four years. “Nothing works with Palestinian banks. Bitcoin wallets are alternative banks.”
Thanks to the underlying blockchain technology, once anyone buys bitcoin or any digital currency the transaction can’t be changed or halted. That’s a financial lifeline for people who can’t otherwise get access to the global economy.