Venezuela currently has an inflation rate of almost 2,500 percent, according to Steve Hanke. This corresponds to Bloomberg’s Cafe con Leche index of the cost of a cup of coffee with milk (or espresso with scalding milk) which is now 1.767 MILLION Bolivars in Caracas Venezuela (or 5,790% for the last 12 months).
In 2017, with the bolivar in freefall, Maduro vowed that the nation would create a cryptocurrency called the Petro, backed by reserves of oil, gas, gold and diamonds. The Petro launched in 2018.
The Washington Post economic reporter Matt O’Brien said that “The petro might be the most obviously horrible investment ever… The petro is about creating something useless – that’s why only foreigners can buy them, but only Venezuelans can spend them“.
Which brings me to non-Venezuelan cryptocurrencies or “electronic tulip bulbs.” Like the tulip bulb craze that swept Holland in the 1600s, cryptocurrencies are a highly speculative investment. Take a look at Bitwise, a cryptocurrency fund that trades at 197.392% Fund Percent Premium. Sounds more like Pennywise, the clown from Stephen King’s “It” franchise. It fell from $139 on 12/16/2020 to $60.39 on 12/31/2020. That is a quite a loss.
Bitcoin, for example, experienced a flash crash, but has rebounded.
But while Bitcoin is down, Ethereum is way up.
Cryptocurrencies have a place for processing, for example, financial transactions. Or oil transactions like Venezuela is trying to do. And if you want to play the volatility game, cryptos may be your cup of tea … or oil.