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Bitcoin Used for Transactions Across Borders by Palestinians Amid Conflict

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Bitcoin has become a lifeline for a small but blooming community of customers in the occupied Palestinian territories of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

A financial analyst in Gaza, Ahmed Ismail, estimated that there are minimum 20 unofficial exchange offices there dealing cryptocurrency to local users. Ismail himself facilitates 30 clients in using bitcoin for purchasing investments such as stocks abroad, since there aren't any local alternatives for putting money to work.

The Palestinian-born author of "The Bitcoin Standard", Saifdean Ammous, is a bit skeptical about any claims that the cryptocurrency currently offers a solution to his homeland's economic straits.

Mohammed, one such currency dealer in Gaza, told a media agency that over the past four years he has helped up to 50 families a month purchase an average of $500 worth of bitcoin each for sending money abroad or shopping online.
Palestine is somewhat unique among these markets in terms of the drivers and limitations to adoption, though, it is not the only economically and politically isolated part of the world where cryptocurrency is making inroads.

For instance, Palestinians do not face the kind of hyperinflation that drives Venezuelans, Iranians and Turks to hodl a digital currency with a limited supply, since they don't have a national currency at all, instead of using stable foreign currencies.
Nonetheless, an electronic currency can only do so much in a place where power outages can be a daily occurrence and even traditional banks sometimes struggle to transact with much of the outside world.

helped up to 50 families a month purchase an average of $500 worth of bitcoin each for sending money abroad or shopping online

None of the crypto exchanges work with local banks, hence, there's no way for Palestinians to get their Israeli shekels, U.S. dollars or Jordanian dinars to online exchanges. Therefore, they need to depend solely on dealers as liquidity gateways, and that adds friction back in.
One Palestinian tech worker told a media agency that when she tried to cash out a bitcoin payment from a remote employer, she couldn't get a fair fiat price from dealers in Gaza. The reason she quoted for the same was that crypto prices were soaring at the time.
The Palestinian-born author of "The Bitcoin Standard", Saifdean Ammous, is a bit skeptical about any claims that the cryptocurrency currently offers a solution to his homeland's economic straits.
Ammous, who is a professor of economics at the Lebanese American University, commented that if the people who desire to do the transaction don't both have balances in bitcoin, then just the extra layers of conversion are being added from their home currency to bitcoin and back to the home currency and its never going to be a sustainable solution.

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