Much has been said about the use of cryptocurrency, not just as a possible tool for future economic prosperity but also about its use during times of economic turmoil. It has been suggested that consumers will turn to cryptocurrency to store their wealth and savings in times of crisis. It is worth noting that a number of countries such as Venezuela have indeed turned to cryptocurrency in light of the country’s hyperinflation.

The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak has offered a unique opportunity to test some of these theories as many crypto enthusiasts are watching the markets close to see how cryptos and crypto buyers will behave.

According to new data from LocalBitcoins, trading volume from Chile has reached record highs in recent times. Further information from CoinDance, a crypto market data platform, the week ended April 4, 2020, saw 330 million Chilean pesos in transactions, which is a record high. There are a number of possible factors that have contributed to this increase in transactions.

First, there is the obvious issue of the COVID-19 outbreak which has led to an increase in online payments and transactions. It also had the effect of some people moving their funds into digital currency due to uncertainty with fiat currencies and the overall financial system.

On top of this, the Chilean peso has also taken a hit in the last few months, losing 6.45 percent in March and April and 27 percent in 2020 alone. CryptoMarket, a Chilean crypto exchange platform, has seen a 270 percent increase in US dollar transactions, implying that Chileans are looking for an alternative, fiat or crypto, to protect their assets and savings as the value of their currency plummets.

The depreciation, coupled with COVID-19, which has led to the country being in a state of police-enforced lockdown, has led to a sense of instability on the part of citizens. One silver lining, however, is that the death rate in Chile has been noticeably low in the face of the virus, which is credited to the tightly-enforced lockdown.

“Thus far, there have been just 160 recorded deaths in a nation of 18 million. There were 464 new infections announced Wednesday, compared with a peak of 534 on April 16, bringing the total to 11,296. Like everywhere, the true counts are probably higher,” reports Bloomberg.

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