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Maduro’s Secret ‘Stash’ of Cryptos is Unlikely to Affect Bitcoin Price

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read

A Venezuelan state-run oil and gas company appears to be sitting on a bitcoin (BTC) and ethereum (ETH) unspecified “stash” – and the country’s central bank is looking for ways to store the cryptocurrencies in its coffers.

Nicolás Maduro. Source: Twitter

Per a report from Bloomberg – who claim that president Nicolás Maduro now has a “Bitcoin stash he doesn’t know what to do with” – unnamed sources have told the news agency that the oil producer, Petroleos de Venezuela, has been “struggling” to get paid in conventional fiats.

However, the agency also speculated that Venezuelan companies “may be hesitant to sell cryptocurrencies on the open market,” as they are reluctant to go through Know-Your-Customer and other due diligence protocols at major crypto exchanges. If this is the case, BTC and ETH might be sold in smaller batches by using over the counter (OTC) services which would not affect the prices on crypto exchanges.

Moreover, in June, Ethfinex (now – DeversiFi) introduced a decentralized OTC service Ethfinex Trustless OTC. Its users can trade large amounts of ETH directly without relying on any third-party.

Meanwhile, the news agency states, “It isn’t clear how Petroleos de Venezuela came to own bitcoin and ethereum, or the value of its holdings.” But the implication seems to be that international buyers have been paying Petroleos de Venezuela with bitcoin and ethereum in exchange for oil, in an attempt to circumvent United States sanctions on countries and companies trading with Venezuela.

Bloomberg says its sources confirmed that the oil producer wants to pay its suppliers in the tokens, and that “[central bank] staffers are studying proposals that would allow cryptocurrencies to be counted toward international reserves.”

The Maduro government’s reserves are approaching a “three-decade low,” and stand at just USD 7.9 billion.

As previously reported, cryptocurrencies have become a central part of the Maduro government’s economic policy. In addition to the country’s own state-run Petro token, the government has openly embraced bitcoin and other tokens. One of the country’s top universities is reportedly working on an RFID-powered solution that will enable crypto pay via smart cards.

And the state-owned Banco de Venezuela earlier this month began offering its customers the option of banking both in fiat and cryptocurrencies – an indication that bankers in the nation are already looking at a wide range of options when it comes to crypto-related matters.