It appears that Venezuelan users are being denied access to two platforms – crypto exchange Coinbase and fiat remittance platform MercaDolar, digital rights advocacy group Inteligente reported on 9 September.
While it remains unknown why access to the two platforms was blocked, with authorities remaining quiet on the matter, Internet Service Providers in the country have been part of the move. The ISPs have included Coinbase and MercaDolar’s IPs in a DNS blacklist, a tactic used in the past for the same purpose, denying Venezuelan citizens’ access to other cryptocurrency platforms.
According to the director of Venezuela Inteligente, Andres E. Azpurua, the previous ban on cryptocurrency exchanges was the government targeting platforms that facilitated the exchange of the local currency into international alternatives. He further noted that the current ban on Coinbase was a big concern to him, considering Venezuelans continue to have access to a variety of crypto exchanges.
Two weeks ago the Venezuelan government used the same tactic, but this time against two VPN providers – Tunnelbear and Psiphon. However, the ISPs were only able to block access to the VPNs’ websites, allowing Venezuelans to continue accessing the supposedly-blocked online platforms.
Access to cryptocurrency exchanges is one of the ways Venezuela citizens are guarding themselves against the growing hyperinflation that is plaguing their country. Digital assets have gained such popularity in the country, that Venezuela is now placed third on Chainalysis’ Global Crypto Adoption Index. Some of the main uses of cryptocurrency in the country is for protecting savings against the inflation, receive remittances from abroad, as well as to buy goods and services outside the government system.