Venezuela has begun to explore the possibility of deploying a state-backed cryptocurrency as a strategy to shore up its ailing economy.
The Central Bank of Venezuela convened a symposium yesterday that included representatives of the bank’s foreign exchange system, known as DICOM, and private sector experts on blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. The talks reportedly covered subjects ranging from technical features of blockchains to practical guidance on launching token offerings.
One speaker at the conference was Ángel Salazar, CEO of Venezuelan blockchain firm OnixCoin, who explained that the bank’s motive in organizing the gathering was to find ways to take advantage of developments in the crypto field in order to strengthen the country’s economy. He suggested that the bank might issue a cryptocurrency as a strategy for mitigating the fiscal hardships plaguing the nation.
He added that the government has already taken the first step towards embracing cryptocurrency-based solutions to its economic woes, saying that DICOM personnel left all manner of topics on the table for discussion in future meetings. These include mining, token offerings, and cryptocurrency exchanges.
Over the past few years, falling global oil prices and US sanctions issued by the Obama and Trump administrations have crippled the Venezuelan economy, contributing to a prolonged crisis that has fomented widespread popular unrest.
Though cryptocurrency mining is legal in the country, in some cases, police have arrested miners. In February 2017, Venezuela’s leading exchange, SurBitcoin, announced that its bank account was being revoked and urged users to withdraw all holdings from the platform. Today, the exchange is once again operational.