Bitcoin (BTC) trading volumes soared to 2,454 on February 11, equivalent to about £8.95 million on peer-to-peer exchange local bitcoins, CCN reported. The rise comes a few days after trading volumes on the exchange surpassed 2,000 BTC for the first time as economic hyperinflation and a political power struggle in Venezuela ensues. Ten of thousands of protestors are currently demonstrating in major cities across Venezuela in support of opposition leader Juan Guaido, 35, taking office from Nicolas Maduro, 56. Mr Guaido, who is recognised by more than 20 EU countries and the United States, has demanded for humanitarian aid to reach the country where medicines and food are scarce.
In recent weeks, many Venezuelans have turned to bitcoin in desperation as a means of payment for getting supplies through the border as were able to be blocked.
How has the Maduro government responded?
The Maduro-backed Venezuelan government has attempted to limit Bitcoin trading by introducing fees and regulations.
The National Superintendency of Crypto Assets and Related Activities (SUNACRIP) became responsible for taxation involved in cryptocurrency transactions as of last Thursday.
The regulations were published in Gaceta Oficial No. 41581 and announced soon afterwards by SUNACRIP on Twitter.
The guidelines state a maximum transfer fee of 15 percent for transcation has been applied, as reported by Coin Telegraph.
A minimum transfer fee for crypto transactions is now set at $0.28.
A maximum of 10 petros per month will also be applied for the national government-backed cryptocurrency introduced last year.
This is equivalent to about $600, according to Coin Telegraph.
Any attempt to go above this will require approval from SUNACRIP.
Interim President Guaido is believed to be a fan of bitcoin and a critic of the state-backed Petro
The cryptocurrency, which is linked to the bolivar’s value, has been criticised by Guaido for being used as a tool for alleged fraud against Venezuelans by Maduro’s government.
What is happening today?
The latest protests against Mr Maduro come three weeks after he declared power against Maduro’s socialist state.
Guaido told his 1.25 million Twitter followers late on Monday: “We will return to the streets … to demand the entry of humanitarian aid that will save the lives of more than 300,000 Venezuelans that today are at risk of dying. This is a time to unite and fight!”
Thousands of protestors have gathered in the capita of Caracas, with people draped in Venezuelan flags.
Military members of the National Guard are standing guard in case of violence between supporters of Maduro and Guaido.