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Venezuela Has Bitcoin Stash and Doesn’t Know What to Do With It

  • Central bank to decide if crypto can count as foreign reserves
  • Government hampered by sanctions that limit access to dollars
Nicolas Maduro speaks in Caracas on March 22, 2018.
Nicolas Maduro speaks in Caracas on March 22, 2018.Photographer: Carlos Becerra/Bloomberg

Venezuela’s central bank is running internal tests to determine whether it can hold cryptocurrencies in its coffers, according to four people with direct knowledge of the matter.

The efforts come at the behest of state-run Petroleos de Venezuela SA, which is seeking to send Bitcoin and Ethereum to the central bank and have the monetary authority pay the oil company’s suppliers with the tokens, according to the people, who asked not to be identified discussing internal deliberations. Staffers are also studying proposals that would allow cryptocurrencies to be counted toward international reserves, now near a three-decade low at $7.9 billion.