Say what you will about Bitcoin–whether it is a real currency, a government conspiracy, or a Ponzi scheme–but for one Venezuelan man, it was a very real ticket out of a crumbling socialist country.
Guillermo Hernandez is now safely in Santiago Chile after The Startup Societies Foundation crowdfunded his travel out of Venezuela. It had to be funded with Bitcoin, as PayPal does not work in Venezuela. Bitcoin knows no borders.
The Venezuelan government has a bogus exchange rate, so in order to get the actual value of the Bitcoin when exchanging it for Venezuelan bolivars, Guillermo had to turn to the black market.
Before this, Guillermo had gone to the internet to make money since $1 a day wasn’t cutting it at his job in Venezuela. He was able to make $15 for a single task freelancing on the internet, and the only money he could accept was Bitcoin.
Still, he was only able to save about $20 a month, which meant having to spend possibly another year in Venezuela. And with government-aligned forces robbing and murdering in the streets, who knew when it would be too late to flee?
Thanks to Thibault Serlet, I soon began working at the Startup Societies Foundation, earning an additional income. After a few weeks, Thibault used the Startup Societies Foundation network to crowdfund Bitcoin donations for my ticket out of Venezuela.
Many generous, anonymous people helped me. I am forever grateful for their kindness.
I exchanged the bitcoin for enough bolivars to leave and then started my journey. I began an exodus through 5 countries, for a total of 6835 Km, from Venezuela to Chile.
Guillermo is a hard worker with marketable skills. Now safely out of a repressive country, he can reach his full potential, and not be hampered by destructive socialist policies.
The takeaway here is that Guillermo was able to remove himself from a terrible situation because of modern technology. He was able to make money online because of companies which connect people across oceans for freelance work. He was able to get paid because of crypto-currencies, regardless of the economic manipulation under the socialist regime.
Internet freelance, Bitcoin, Startup Societies Foundation and Guillermo’s defiance of the corrupt socialist powers controlling Venezuela made possible his escape from that socialist sinkhole.