The central bank of Venezuela is running internal tests to determine whether it can add cryptocurrencies, specifically bitcoin and ether, to its international reserves, according to a report by Bloomberg.
The test came at the request of Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), the state-owned oil and natural gas company. PDVSA is looking to have the Venezuelan central bank pay the company’s suppliers on its behalf using the bitcoin and ether it has obtained.
Due to U.S. sanctions, PDVSA has struggled to do business with its clients and suppliers, as major banks have avoided opening business channels with the company. According to Bloomberg, it is unclear how PDVSA was able to get a hold of its bitcoin and ether. The value of its holdings is also unclear.
In 2018, the Venezuelan government launched Petro, a state-issued cryptocurrency backed by the country’s oil reserves. More recently, government officials have launched various platforms to incentivize the use of Petro.