Venezuelan President Announces Oil-Backed Cryptocurrency "Petro" to Combat 'US Blockade'

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Venezuela will create a new cryptocurrency backed by oil reserves and other natural resources, President Nicolas Maduro said.

Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela announced the launch of "Petro", a digital currency backed by oil reserves to uplift a collapsed economy.

The leftist leader offered few specifics about the currency launch or how the struggling OPEC member would pull off such a feat, but he declared to cheers that "the 21st century has arrived!"

Maduro said the proposed cryptocurrency, called "petro", will help combat the US' "blockade" against the country.

Opposition leaders criticised the announcement, which needs congressional approval in order to become government policy.

The announcement throws light on how the sanctions implemented by President Trump in 2017 have hurt Venezuela's ability to transact money via global banks.

Venezuela's real currency - the bolivar - is in freefall, with inflation running at 4,000% and the country running out of basic food and medicine.

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Hyperinflation has eroded the Venezuelan bolivia's value by 97% this year, making imports incredibly expensive and causing many to abandon trust in the currency.

According to Business Insider, this move is taking place against a sharp rise in the cost of the bolivar against the USA dollar and weeks after the government issued a new 100,000-bolivar note.

Maduro views it as a fight against a Washington-backed conspiracy to sabotage his government and put an end to socialism in Latin America, and went as far as declaring a financial "world war".

Opposition leaders in Venezuela, reportedly, have rejected his idea. In just one month, there has been a 57% depreciation in the bolivar vis-à-vis the dollar owing to uncontrolled money printing and currency restrictions.

"It's Maduro being a clown. This has no credibility", said opposition lawmaker and economist Angel Alvarado.

"I see no future in this", added fellow opposition legislator Jose Guerra.

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