Venezuela’s allegedly corrupt leader, Nicolás Maduro, recently lost a court battle involving approximately $1 billion of gold.
“The UK High Court has ruled against Venezuela’s government in a legal battle over access to $1bn (£820m) of gold stored in the Bank of England,” BBC said in a July 2 article.
As a self-sovereign digital asset, Bitcoin lies outside of centralized control. If Maduro stored that value in Bitcoin, he may still have access to those funds.
Several months ago U.S. authorities came forward with allegations against Venezuela’s Maduro and 14 of the country’s leaders in March, claiming multiple illegal dealings, including drug trafficking and corruption.
One year prior, in January 2019, politician Juan Guaidó stated presidency over the country, labelling Maduro’s win the year before as invalid, a separate BBC article from January 2020 said.
“The gold is being retained by the Bank of England (BoE) following British and U.S. sanctions on Mr Maduro’s government,” BBC said in its July 2 story. Both Maduro and Guaidó staked claims seeking access to the precious metal storage. Maduro did not win the court’s favor.
Storing large amounts of gold requires the help of facilities, locations or entities. Bitcoin, on the other hand, can sit within a person’s direct control, capable of storing hundreds of millions of dollars in the process, depending on private key storage methods.
The Maduro news also reminds users that Bitcoin storage is only as good as the location of the associated private keys. “Not your keys, not your Bitcoin,” as industry influencer Trace Mayer often says.