As it battles an imploding economy and global sanctions, Venezuela's government is planning to use cryptocurrencies as a "method for free national and international payments," according to President Nicolas Maduro.
In a televised press conference, Maduro said: "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."
With Venezuela largely isolated from the global financial system, Maduro has seized on cryptocurrencies as a possible saviour for his country's economy.
Lat year he launched a sovereign crypto, called the Petro, but it has fallen flat. More recently, Bloomberg reports that Venezuela's central bank is running internal tests to determine whether it can hold crypto in its reserves - helping out state-run Petroleos de Venezuela SA, which is seeking to send Bitcoin and Ethereum to the central bank so it can pay its bills with them.
Opposition leader Juan Guaido says: “The regime’s use of cryptocurrency shows desperation. To resort to that kind of subterfuge emphasizes the economic crisis the regime is going through."