Bolivars to Bitcoin: Activists Take Down Venezuela’s Maduro in Crypto Art Exhibit
Originally published on: CoinDesk
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February 26, 2019
Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro will be taken down today.
At least his visage, painted on 1,000 bolivars by cryptocurrency-focused artist cryptograffiti, will be. The destruction of the artist’s newest piece – an 11-foot by 10-foot portrait of the Venezuelan leader – will happen in Cucuta, Colombia, about 500 yards from the Simon Bolivar Bridge, a landmark hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans have walked across to escape the poverty of their home country.
Since Maduro took office in 2003, Venezuela has suffered drastic inflation, starvation and socio-economic decline. And in recent months, the situation has worsened. This past weekend, violence broke out on the border with Brazil as the Venezuelan military moved to block food and medical supplies from entering Venezuela.
Feeling for the people of Venezuela and hoping cryptocurrency can prove to be the economic alternative it’s touted as, cryptograffiti decided he needed to see its potential for himself.
Cryptograffiti told CoinDesk:
“After reciting the tired ‘Maybe it doesn’t apply directly to you, but bitcoin is important in authoritarian regimes’ line one-too-many times, I wanted to contribute and experience the situation first-hand.”
In partnership with AirTM, a Mexico-based crypto exchange, and Cripto Conserje, a cryptocurrency-focused merchant services provider, cryptograffiti will watch as his portrait gets torn down. For every donation made, a Venezuelan at the event will physically remove a bolivar from the mural.
Only two pieces of the mural will be saved and signed as donor prizes – one section going to the highest donor and the other being given to a donor drawn at random.
“Venezuelans will literally and figuratively be bringing down Maduro,” cryptograffiti said.
The other 50 percent of the funds contributed will go towards rebuilding facilities at Fundación Renacer, a non-profit organization providing daycare services to families displaced by the crisis, where the event will be held.
During the event, Cripto Conserje will be focused on educating individuals and merchants on cryptocurrency use. (Venezuelan regulators have imposed a more than 11 percent fee on all crypto remittances into the country, so crypto holders will likely want to learn how to transfer their money in a peer-to-peer way to forgo those.)
Several food merchants will be at the event so attendees that get crypto can purchase food right away.
“People are using it to steer clear of hyperinflation but also to escape with money to. All the stuff we talk about as possibilities for crypto, it’s happening right now.”
To donate to the cause, visit: http://airdropvenezuela.live/.
Cryptograffiti’s Nicolas Maduro mural via Pete Rizzo with CoinDesk