'Petro': Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro announces launch of oil-backed cryptocurrency

06 December, 2017, 01:09 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • A man shows a new one hundred thousand Bolivar-note in Caracas

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Sunday his country would create a cryptocurrency called the "petro" as it faces a "financial blockade" in the midst of crippling US sanctions.

President Maduro provided few details about the currency launch, and how he plans to revive the economic situation of his country.

Maduro said on his television show that the new "petrocurrency" will be backed by reserves in oil, gas, gold, and diamonds, Bloomberg reports. Maduro added that the petro would support the nation to advance in areas of financial sovereignty, to move past financial obstructions and to make successful financial transactions.

The announcement bewildered some followers of cryptocurrencies, which typically are not backed by any government or central banks.

Opposition leaders in Venezuela, reportedly, have rejected his idea. They outlined it needs congressional approval.

The news comes as Venezuela faces acute financing problems after creditors and ratings agencies declared the government and the state-run oil firm PDVSA to be in partial default for missing interest and principal payments on bonds.

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Opposition leaders argue the country's shortages of food and medication are far more pressing and that the digital currency will not address this.

Avowed Marxist and member of the constituent assembly Jesus Faria has called for changes to monetary policy that would lead to free worldwide exchange. As a result, the minimum wage per month has dropped to a meager $4.30.

For the millions of Venezuelans plunged into poverty and struggling to eat three meals a day, Maduro's announcement is unlikely to bring any immediate relief.

According to opposition leaders and economists, Maduro, who was previously a union leader and bus driver, has carelessly refused to alter Venezuela's restrictions and curtail the severe economic meltdown.

Maduro said that "electronic cash" will get the name Petro.

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