Despite CEO Claims, Dash Isnâ€™t Really the â€˜Most Usedâ€™ Crypto in Venezuela
This statement has been repeated time and again by Dashpay, hinting that crypto is taking off in Venezuelaâ€™s economy.Â
But after investigating the true uptake of the crypto in Venezuela, this statement â€“ while bold â€“ isnâ€™t quite true.
In 2018, 80 percent of merchants in Venezuela reportedly accepted dash.
Nowadays, the statistic is getting significantly lower following its first audit by Discover Dash, according to Ernesto Contreras, Business Development Manager for Dash Latin America.
â€œThey will complete their first audit to registered businesses this week and the total of retailers affiliated to Dash is going to fall,â€� Contreras said.
Indeed, local sources told CoinDesk that only a small number of projects and merchants are actually using dash. For example, Fabiana Arreaza, owner of the startup Chiringuitos, told CoinDesk that customers rarely use the crypto payments option.Â
â€œWeâ€™ve been accepting dash for two years. We currently havenâ€™t received any clients using dash to pay for their events. Theyâ€™d rather use bolivares or dollars,â€� she said.
This is true for the wider crypto industry in the country. There are approximately 488 businesses, including many small food startups, that accept cryptocurrency payments in Venezuela, though few businesses actually see traction.
Los Costilla, a popular, dash-friendly restaurant, is one example. A representative told CoinDesk they havenâ€™t accepted any type of cryptocurrency for over a year.
â€œThe photo was taken over a year ago, when we did accept the payments with the cryptocurrency. Since then we havenâ€™t accepted dash. We donâ€™t accept any kind of bitcoin,â€� said the restaurant.
Huge Dash billboards can be seen in the main streets of Caracas, and Dash has even given out cellphones with integrated wallets to boost adoption in the country as part of their well-known marketing scheme.
â€œWe are surrounded by Dash publicity,â€� said Venezuelan bitcoin user Isabel PÃ©rez.Â
But itâ€™s not just shoppers that are being marketed to. Perez recalls how the project Dash Merchant offered Venezuelan retailers on-boarding services.Â
In one marketing push, the Dash Merchant project collaborated with Dash Venezuelaâ€™s â€œCiudad Dashâ€� event to recruit affiliated merchants and give $10 worth of dash to attendees.
The results fell flat.
â€œIâ€™ve asked a couple retailers that accept dash if they accept crypto, but they donâ€™t,â€� Perez said.
This creates a scenario where users who want to experiment with dash rarely move beyond the first few transactions.
When speaking of this marketing campaign to onboard new merchants, Dash Development Manager, Contreras, tweeted:
â€œI think that working with so many businesses was too complex. I know that in this last months there have been quality campaigns and updated the training.â€�Â
Que mala experiencia! Creo que iniciar con tantos comercios fue muy complejo. SÃ© que en los Ãºltimos meses han hecho campaÃ±as de calidad y actualizado entrenamiento. De hecho en el app Discoverdash ahora se puede reportar problemas/sugerencias! AsÃ se puede ayudarlos!
â€” Ernesto (@ernestocontrer) July 26, 2019
On the other hand, the Merchant project made strong headway in growing adoption in Venezuela before shutting down after the team showed inconsistencies in their salary reports.
â€œDash Merchant made the majority of business connections so farâ€�, he said.
But he also said the growth of the dash community in-country happens mostly outside of the official network. According to Contreras, only 4 out of 27 Dash related projects in Venezuela are financed by the Dash DAO.
So far, CoinDesk have found scant evidence to support claims that dash is the most widely used cryptocurrency in Venezuela.
There are an estimated 10,000 active Dash wallets in Venezuela but local experts say this may be incorrect. The actual number of downloads on Android is managed by Dash Engineering Solutions and it doesnâ€™t offer a complete picture of the platform, according to Giorgio Marinetti, CEO of Dash Help.
â€œWe only work with approximate figures. Those numbers are taken from payment processors of different Dash projects, along with its use in events. Our data is mainly from daily interactions with businesses and startups,â€� Marinetti said.
The real growth statistics for the dash market in Venezuela remains an enigma for the Dash team on the ground, making it impossible to compare with other cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.
â€œWe can only calculate an approximate number of transactions in the country. We donâ€™t have a central point of data, so we have to collect it ourselves,â€� Marinetti said.
Dash graphic via CoinDesk archives