Crisis and cryptos in Latin America


29/9/22, 15.30h, 13.30-18.00 (with drinks until 19.00)

Venue: CEDLA, Roetersstraat 33 | 1018 WB Amsterdam - 2nd Floor One-day seminar organized by Social and Cultural Anthropology at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and CEDLA

Seminar motivation and idea

For decades, various countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have faced persistent economic challenges, such as chronic inflation, hyperinflation, and far-reaching economic constraints due to international trading sanctions and closed borders related to geopolitical interests and global energy markets.

These regional economic precarities have pushed both lower and middle-class communities in Latin America and the Caribbean to look for alternatives when they see again their income evaporate and empty ATMs. The recent Covid-19 crisis has once more revealed how unexpected economic backlashes, tied to overlapping health and (geo)political crises, further exacerbate existing economic and social inequalities in the region.

At the same time, we are facing an enormous growth of new digital solutions for day-to-day economic exchange and trade in Latin America. One of the most widespread recent trends associated to digital economies is bitcoin and other global cryptocurrencies, such as ethereum, or local criptomonedas, such as el petro in Venezuela. The premises of freedom, decentralization, autonomy, self-learning, and resistance –renewed promises deriving from the invention of the blockchain– has increasingly attracted many Latin American and Caribbean communities (Pinheiro and Vasen 2021).