A one-night stay at a hotel? That’ll be half a gram. Lunch for two at a Chinese restaurant? A quarter of a gram. A haircut? An eighth of a gram, please. Jorge Pena, 20, figured that eighth came to three small flakes — the equivalent of $5. After getting a trim one recent weekday in the town of Tumeremo, he handed them over to his barber, who, satisfied with Pena’s calculation, quickly pocketed them. “You can pay for everything with gold,” ..
..Most of the world moved on from gold as a medium of exchange over a century ago. Its resurfacing in Venezuela today is the most extreme manifestation of the repudiation of the local currency, the bolivar, that has swept the country. It’s been rendered almost worthless by hyperinflation. (Nicolas Maduro’s regime just lopped another six zeroes off it.)
..They use hand tools to break shards off nuggets and then carry them in their pockets, often wrapped in bolivar bills — one of the few remaining uses for the currency. Stores have small scales, but some shopkeepers and consumers feel so comfortable handling the metal at this point that they evaluate the flakes by sight…