Palestinians turn to bitcoin amid chaos with Israel

The Gaza Strip has been one of the most noisy areas in the world since its existence. Israel has been trying for years to keep the area calm with an iron fist, but often in vain. Unfortunately, this conflict flares up again. As always, people are looking for a safe haven, and here people appear to be fleeing to cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin (BTC).

Chaos in the Gaza Strip

That writes the Arab newspaper The National. The Gaza Strip is again literally in ruins after the Israeli air force fired missiles on an alleged weapons factory and tunnel of the terrorist organization Hamas. The economy is doing just as badly in the midst of all the chaos. As many as 44% of the population or 2.3 million people are estimated to be unemployed.

As you can expect from a quasi-war zone, there is a major shortage of emergency resources. The official currencies used in Palestine are the Israeli shekel (ILS) and the Jordanian dinar (JOD), which currently have relatively low annual inflation rates of only 5.1% and 5.2%.

Yet money is scarce, and regular products are therefore expensive. The Palestinian Monetary Authority itself is not allowed to issue money, and the economy is therefore heavily dependent on financial donations from outside the area. It is also cut off from international financial markets, and the Israeli government has enormous influence over the financial services companies that are still standing.

Bitcoin for Palestinians a godsend

But the decentralized, online world of cryptocurrencies offers a solution, according to The National. The newspaper interviewed a number of residents, including Noor. In 2021, her makeup store was destroyed. Then she discovered bitcoin. Since the war ended, she’s had nothing but days of misery, but crypto allowed her to start an online store.

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Yet crypto also has snags in Palestine. For example, exchanges in the area are centralized, allowing the Israeli government to pause withdrawals and deposits. Even now, Palestine does not have the clout to declare bitcoin the official currency.

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