Venezuelan government briefly allowed foreign passports applicants to pay using bitcoin.

The Venezuelan government reportedly allowed passport applicants to pay with Bitcoin briefly this week. The option was seen on SAIME, Venezuela’s Administrative Service for Identification, Migration and Foreigners. A twitter user posted the screenshot of the webpage of passport agency showing that they are accepting bitcoin. According to reports, confirmation of Bitcoin payments took approximately eight minutes. The bitcoin payments were accepted through the payment processor BTCPay Server. Earlier, the government had suspended credit card payments and may be due to that the BTC option was enabled briefly. 


BTC payment option was taken down after a few hours. 

Users reported that bitcoin payments were seemingly removed just hours after their introduction. However, Venezuelan journalist Marbellis Linares denied that the bitcoin payment option was ever truly available. He said that “it is not functional, and the information is false.” But this contradicts with other reports and users who posted screenshots. Some users also suggested that the option was never available to Venezuelan users, only to foreign users who were applying for passports externally. The Venezuelan government has been pushing the adoption of its oil-backed cryptocurrency Petro from the last few years. 


Venezuela continues to push its oil-backed crypto petro. 

Venezuela has been harshly affected by the ongoing hyperinflation because of the political turmoil. Venezuelan bolivar has been losing its value against the US dollar from many years now. To counter the hyperinflation, the government has been pushing the use of its cryptocurrency petro. Venezuelan users are among the highest-volume buyers and sellers of bitcoin on the peer-to-peer platform LocalBitcoins. Earlier, the government announced to provide extra benefits for people using petro to buy petrol in the country. Businesses in the country, including Burger King and Church’s Chicken, also accept cryptocurrency as a means of payment. 

Venezuela President Nicolas Mudro and petro head Trinidad Ramirez Camacho are wanted in the US for their links with drug trafficking. Camacho is in the US top most wanted list.