Venezuela‘s government (Administrative Service for Identification, Migration and Foreigners, known as SAIME), has planned to accept Bitcoin (BTC) as a new payment method for some passport applications, as it has been reported by a Reddit post on June 23.
News of the update soon reached Twitter, with some Venezuelan users abroad confirming the information.
However, BTCLovera, a Twitter user, wrote:
“I have just verified it personally and it is totally true. #Venezuela, the immigration service, is accepting bitcoin for payments. Renew passport or request an extension.”
#Bitcoin es sin fronteras, resistente a la censura. No tiene distinción. Derecha o izquierda. Si bloquean los pagos a Venezuela, $BTC fixes this. Es molesto, pero es lo que hay. 😅😎 https://t.co/SaoxEZCS4B — Lovera 😎 ⚡₿ (@BTClovera) June 24, 2020
It has been analyzed that similar payments can already be made in the country by using Venezuela’s own pseudo-cryptocurrency, the Petro (PTR). Before now, the only other option was to purchase with bolivares through the national bank.
As per the report, the option does not seem to be available to users actually living in Venezuela. Even the author of the original Reddit post said that he was unable to re-verify the option just a few hours after it was published.
SAIME has yet to officially confirm the new payment option in any capacity, as it is not known how long the system has been enabled, or if there is a specific user profile type required accessing Bitcoin payments.
Bitcoin is now an accepted payment method for certain Venezuelan passport applications https://t.co/h9juo6Pa9Z — Cointelegraph (@Cointelegraph) June 24, 2020
Moreover, for the issuance and management of payment addresses, SAIME has implemented BTCPayServer, a well-known BTC payment processor created by Nicolás Dorier. The system appears to use its own exchange rate at supposedly below-market prices.
Though the UI indicates that credit card payments will also be enabled, it’s not clear whether this method will incur additional fees or penalties.
Juan Rios Villasmil explained:
“It only accepts payments using Bitcoin… The usage of Credit Cards is blocked. Coming soon.”
Hola. Ya se puede entrar al Saime. Segun la pagina esta funcionando desde las 5pm hasta 5am hora Venezuela. Solo acepta pagos usando Bitcoin… Uso de TDC esta bloqueado.. Commig soon.. Que buena verga! — Juan Rios Villasmil (@JuanRiosV) June 23, 2020
Likewise, this developing news could reflect an evolution in the Venezuelan government’s stance towards the Petro, as Maduro’s regime recently announced that almost 15% of all fuel payments across the country were made using the Petro.
Thus, such statistics indicate a sharp rise, likely boosted by a new state-backed plan to promote the widespread use of the token.