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【特集】Bitcoin as a Tool for Progress in Cape Verde: A Closer Look at Remittances and Cash Economies
Cape Verde's Reliance on Remittances and Tourism
Cape Verde, a small island nation in the Atlantic Ocean, faces economic challenges due to its limited resources and small land mass. More Cape Verdeans live abroad than on the islands, with many depending on remittances from relatives living abroad. Additionally, the country heavily relies on tourism to boost its economy.
Challenges of the Tourism and Remittance-Based Economy
The combination of a tourism and remittance-based economy presents several issues for Cape Verde. The presence of tourists has led to the use of multiple currencies, causing confusion and increased transaction fees. Merchants often pass on the 4% transaction fees charged by Mastercard and Visa to customers. Remittance costs, charged by companies like Western Union and MoneyGram, can reach up to 15%, acting as a tax on Cape Verdean workers' higher incomes abroad.
Limitations of the Cape Verde Cash Economy
The Cape Verde cash economy faces challenges such as high ATM and bank access fees, strict opening and closing hours, and inadequate availability of cash during bank holidays. Moreover, inflation in Cape Verde runs higher than in the eurozone, despite the escudo being pegged to the euro. These factors hinder Cape Verdeans from easily spending, saving, and sending money.
Embracing Bitcoin as a Solution
Despite the economic hurdles faced by Cape Verde, there is growing interest in Bitcoin as a borderless, immutable, and decentralized internet currency. Renato Evarchi, one of the first business owners in Cape Verde to accept Bitcoin, shed light on the economic situation and how Bitcoin is gaining traction among Cape Verdeans.
By exploring the challenges and opportunities faced by Cape Verde, this on-the-ground documentary provides insights into the potential of Bitcoin as a tool for progress in small island nations.