In the border city of Cúcuta, Venezuelan refugees stream into Colombia, searching for food to feed their families. Years of high inflation, projected to top 1 million percent, has turned bolivares into scrap paper. More than 3 million Venezuelans have fled since 2014, and 5,500 exit for good each day. According to the United Nations, the exodus is “on the scale of Syria” and is now one of the world’s worst refugee crises. As Venezuelans escape, they leave with close to nothing, desperate and vulnerable.
Because they live under authoritarianism, Venezuelans have no way to reform the policies that have destroyed their economy. They can’t hold their rulers accountable through free and fair elections or campaign for change without fear of reprisal. As they stand in hours-long lines for rationed groceries and medicine and watch their life savings disappear, it can seem like there are no options.
But innovation happens at the edge. Today, Venezuelans are adopting and experimenting with Bitcoin to evade hyperinflation and strict financial controls.