Burger King outlets in the crisis-struck nation of Venezuela will begin accepting various cryptocurrencies through a partnership with Cryptobuyer, the company announced on Thursday.
“We are pleased to announce our commercial alliance with Burger King Venezuela,” Crypotobuyer announced on Twitter. “From today you can eat like a king and in your own way paying with Bitcoin, Dash, Litecoin, Ethereum, and Tether. Only available in Caracas Sambil. Happy Monday.”
The first branch to accept such payments is the Sambil shopping mall in Caracas, one of the largest stores in the country. The chain intends to roll out the cryptocurrency payment system across all 40 outlets across Venezuela in 2020, as well as accepting more cryptocurrencies.
— Cryptobuyer (@cryptobuyer) December 30, 2019
Using Cryptobuyer, customers can make payments instantaneously as long as the funds are available in their mobile wallet.
Crypto developers are aggressively pushing for the adoption of cryptocurrencies across Venezuela as an alternative and more reliable form of payment to fiat currency. In recent years, Venezuela’s bolivar currency has been rendered almost worthless as a result of stratospheric levels of inflation brought on by the worst economic and humanitarian crisis in the country’s history.
With rates of inflation reaching as high as 10 million percent, many Venezuelans merchants now only accept foreign currencies such as the American dollar, the Colombian peso, and the Brazilian real.
Selling bolivares in exchange for foreign currency is a hard task, with prices changing on a daily basis. Many Venezuelans are consequently unable to pay for living essentials such as food and medicine with the value of their savings constantly decreasing.
The benefits of cryptocurrency have also attracted the attention of Venezuela’s ruling socialist regime. In 2017, dictator Nicolás Maduro launched a scam national cryptocurrency known as the “petro,” supposedly backed by the country’s extensive oil reserves, that would help the regime bypass economic sanctions imposed by the United States.
In a television address in November, Maduro declared that the country “must become a crypto-nation” with the Petro designed to “protect the family of Venezuela” from foreign sanctions.
“Venezuela must become a crypto-nation. Growth and prosperity are closely linked to the digital economy,” Maduro said. “We are developing the mechanisms that will make the Petro accessible to families, workers, pensions, and students. We are the first country in the world with a cryptocurrency put at the service of the protection of the people.”
Maduro’s push for the adoption of the petro ignores legislation passed by the democratically elected National Assembly in 2018 ruling that the cryptocurrency was illegal, and denouncing the project as an attempt to mortgage the country’s natural resources to bolster the socialist regime.
Later that year, the Treasury Department banned all U.S. citizens from investing in the petro, describing it as “wholesale looting of the Venezuelan economy at the expense of the Venezuelan people.”
The majority of crypto analysts remain highly skeptical about the currency’s economic viability, with some speculating that it is effectively worthless. Maduro has claimed the currency raised nearly a billion dollars in investment, although he has failed to ever provide evidence for this claim.