Can Venezuela’s central bank store BTC, Ether?

Venezuela may not be looking to rely so heavily on its Petro digital currency, after all. Bloomberg reports that the country’s central bank is looking at storing possibly large amounts of BTC and Ether (ETH), according to “four people with direct knowledge of the matter.”

The state-run petroleum company Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) has reportedly sent a request to the central bank asking for permission to deposit the crypto with the bank, and then have the bank pay the company’s suppliers using those assets. Additionally, the central bank is looking into whether or not digital currency could be used to bolster its international reserve figures, which are now approaching the lowest amount seen in 30 years, sitting at right around $7.9 billion. This doesn’t include another $1.2 billion in gold held by the Bank of England, which refuses to return it.

After the U.S. introduced a series of sanctions against the country, and its disputed leader, Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela found itself spiraling even deeper into debt and the country has been facing one of the worst economic crises in recent history. That led to the creation of the state-backed Petro digital currency, a project that has essentially fallen completely flat.

PDVSA is apparently having a difficult time keeping its head above water, despite petroleum being such an important part of the Venezuelan economy. This is the only logical explanation for its desire to use its digital asset holdings to pay its bills, although it isn’t completely clear how it came to possess the currency in the first place or how much it may own.

If PDVSA were to try to sell its holdings on an established crypto market or exchange, it would be forced to register and adhere to due diligence checks, which may be why it hopes the central bank will comply with its request. However, the fact that it even has the crypto could raise questions, given the fact that Maduro has sought to keep digital currencies out of the country. Being a government-run entity, PDVSA would have to have used government resources to make the purchases, a move Maduro would most likely not appreciate.

On the plus side, at least the company hasn’t tried to figure out some back-door method of liquidating its crypto assets and dumping them on the open market. That would have serious consequences for prices, already reeling after someone reportedly sold $1.2 billion worth of BTC earlier this week.

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