[11/30/16] “People are driven by their self-interest [which is why] they’re always going to use the best tool [at their disposal],” says bitcoin entrepreneur Rodrigo Souza. “And that’s why I think technology is going to drive us to a freer society.”
Souza has played an important role in the growing popularity of bitcoin in Latin America. In addition to being an outspoken libertarian and a popular YouTube personality, he’s the founder and CEO of BlinkTrade, which operates the largest bitcoin exchanges in Vietnam, Pakistan, Venezuela, Brazil, and the second largest in Chile.
In the U.S., bitcoin is used mainly by libertarians and tech geeks, but, as Souza explains, it’s catching on in Latin America solely for practical reasons. Venezuelans are using bitcoins to buy food and medicine from abroad, routing around the government capital controls that make it virtually impossible to spend government-issued bolivars outside the country. In Brazil, bitcoin users are escaping tariffs that can run as high as 60 percent.