Mass unrest in Lebanon due to allegations of political corruption and heavy handed capital controls has carried over into the new year, with reports pointing to a notable uptick in bitcoin trading from the embattled nation. As residents seek to preserve as much value as they can while government falters, some traders are calling for a separation of money and state, thinking it is high time to put financial power back into the hands of the people.
Mass Unrest Over Bank Closures and Withdrawal Limits
There’s been no end to Lebanon’s troubles since last fall, when banks locked their doors to the public in fear of running out of cash to supply panicked and angry customers. Withdrawal limits were imposed and demonstrators in the country have been protesting what they view as deep-seated political corruption and mismanagement of the country’s wealth. Tax hikes, austerity measures, and accusations of high-level embezzlement fuel the fire of unrest which continues today.
As news.Bitcoin.com reported in January, banks began to close yet again, with the Lebanon Association of Banks reportedly calling for the closures in light of public anger and threats to bank employee safety. There was also one documented occurrence of a 10-hour standoff between an angry customer and a bank office in Halba.
More Lebanese Turn to Bitcoin in Midst of Suffocating Capital Controls
A new report from regional outlet Al Jazeera details that some in the country are turning to bitcoin to stave off the dire financial straits imposed by the state. According to the report, there is currently a cap of $50 – $100 a month on foreign currency withdrawals,