Crypto payments ‘coming soon’ in Venezuela

The controversial president of Venezuela has said Venezuelans can expect crypto payments to be activated “very soon,” in a move that looks set to introduce more flexibility to payments in the country, Bloomberg reported.

President Nicolas Maduro said the crypto payment service would allow “free national and international payments,” providing new instruments for Venezuelans to conduct banking transactions.

In a televised press conference this week, Maduro said the government, in partnership with the central bank, was poised to launch the new crypto payments system.

The finance minister and Venezuela’s central bank have new instruments which we will activate very soon so that everyone can do banking transactions, as well as national and international payments through the central bank’s accounts. Venezuela is working within the cryptocurrency world.

It comes just days after it was reported that Venezuela’s central bank was preparing to add cryptocurrencies to its international reserves, namely BTC and ETH.

Venezuela is of course no stranger to cryptocurrency, following the launch of the state-backed Petro token. Backed by the country’s oil reserves, the Petro was intended to help Venezuela circumvent international sanctions.

The country has attempted to convince other countries to trade oil in Petro as opposed to the U.S. dollar, which would again allow the country to evade economic sanctions introduced by the U.S.-led international community.

The Petro has been hotly contested since it was launched, with political opponents and commentators branding the move as unconstitutional for its reliance on the state’s oil reserves.

The cryptocurrency has also come under international fire, with U.S. authorities in particular expressing a dim view about the token and those engaged in illegal transactions with Venezuela in Petro.

The news of a forthcoming crypto payments system would ratchet up the international pressure, and likely attract further criticism and condemnation, at a time of growing international scrutiny on the embattled Venezuelan state.

With the weight of economic sanctions still bearing heavy on Maduro, and Venezuela’s, shoulders, the government hopes the system will allow access to more stable payments for those operating in and trading with Venezuela.

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.