Lebanon is grappling with one of the most severe financial crises in its history, marked by hyperinflation, a devalued currency, and widespread economic instability.
In these times of economic turmoil, Bitcoin, which is by its nature outside of the reach of officials and politicians, is emerging as a potential tool for the country’s citizens seeking to preserve their wealth and financial stability.
The world’s leading cryptocurrency is actively offering households and businesses a degree of financial independence that is becoming increasingly inaccessible through traditional banking systems – which has been plagued by capital controls and strict limitations on the withdrawal of foreign currency.
This, in turn, leaves citizens with limited options for safeguarding their savings.
But Bitcoin provides a decentralised alternative, allowing individuals to have direct control over their funds without reliance on a failing banking and wider financial infrastructure.
In addition, one of Bitcoin’s most compelling features is its potential to serve as a store of value.
Given Lebanon’s soaring inflation rates and depreciating local currency, citizens are finding it increasingly challenging to maintain the real value of their savings. Yet Bitcoin’s fixed supply of 21 million coins makes it immune to inflationary pressures, and its global, borderless nature allows people to diversify their assets beyond Lebanon’s borders.
It’s also a nation known for having a significant number of its citizens living abroad, and many families relying on remittances from relatives working abroad.
However, traditional remittance channels often involve high fees and lengthy processing times. By contrast, the world’s largest crypto by market cap offers a faster, cheaper, and more accessible way for people to send and receive money across borders, ensuring that crucial financial support reaches families in Lebanon promptly.
As all-too-often happens, this financial crisis is hitting the most vulnerable citizens the hardest.
With a large portion of the population excluded from the traditional banking system, Bitcoin provides financial inclusion by allowing anyone with a smartphone and internet access to participate in the global economy. Again, this opens up new opportunities for entrepreneurship, savings, and investment.
Peer-to-peer trading: Bitcoin facilitates peer-to-peer trading, which can help Lebanese citizens access essential goods and services during times of scarcity or crisis. LocalBitcoins and other platforms allow individuals to buy and sell Bitcoin directly with one another, bypassing the need for an intermediary. This can be especially beneficial when traditional banks and financial institutions are unreliable.
As the growing number of established and new Bitcoin miners have been keen to stress on international media outlets this week, crypto is enabling Lebanese businesses to engage in international trade more efficiently.
As the local currency’s value plummets, conducting transactions in Bitcoin is providing a degree of stability and predictability. Additionally, it can reduce the risks associated with currency fluctuations, making it easier for Lebanese businesses to trade with partners worldwide.
Whilst crypto is, clearly, helping the people of Lebanon mitigate and navigate Lebanon’s financial crisis, it’s important to acknowledge that Bitcoin is not a panacea for the country’s economic ills. Indeed, it comes with its own set of challenges, including price volatility and regulatory uncertainty.
Like what happened at the start of the war in Ukraine, and also what’s happening in El Salvador since it adopted Bitcoin as legal tender, cryptocurrency is again serving as a beacon of financial hope for a nation in dire need of economic stability and innovation.
With this level of extensive real case utility, it seems hard to see how Bitcoin would not appeal long-term for investors.
Nigel Green, deVere Group CEO and founder