By: Leigh Cuen
Lebanon is far from a poster child for cryptocurrency adoption.
News of Lebanese banks shuttering to prevent a bank run was met with predictable enthusiasm from the global bitcoin commentariat. People in Lebanon can no longer send foreign currencies, mainly dollars and euros, abroad. Further, due to heavily restricted banking access and limited liquidity provided by established grassroots networks, most Lebanese civilians also struggle to acquire bitcoin.
Long-time bitcoiner Ali Askar, currently on the ground in Lebanon, told CoinDesk a few Telegram and WhatsApp groups for local traders have nearly doubled in size over the past year, with one such private group reaching roughly 300 members this past weekend. Following news of the banking limitations, the Beirut-based car dealership Rkein Motors promptly started accepting bitcoin payments this week. Clearly, awareness is spreading.