Having financial problems, create you a new currency, the “Petro”. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro promised on Tuesday to certify the new Petro cryptocurrency in the near future, which will be backed by the country’s oil reserves.
The Ministry of Finance of Venezuela clarified that the cryptocurrency is necessary to carry out financial transactions and to seek new ways of financing.
“In the near future, I will sign the Petro certificates, which will have the support of thousands of oil barrels from Orinoco Belt,” Maduro said in a televised statement, adding that national gold and diamond reserves will also support the digital currency.
The petro, he said,
On Sunday, Maduro announced the introduction of a digital crypto-currency, the Petro, saying it would help Venezuela “advance in issues of monetary sovereignty, to make financial transactions and overcome the financial blockade.”
Opposition leaders derided the announcement, which they said needed congressional approval, and some cast doubt on whether the digital currency would ever see the light of day in the midst of turmoil. The real currency, the bolivar, is in freefall, and the country is sorely lacking in basic needs like food and medicine.
In November, the United States imposed new sanctions on 10 current and former Venezuelan officials for their role in undermining the country’s electoral process, censorship and corruption.
The list of individuals includes newly-appointed Culture Minister Ernesto Emilio Villegas Poljak and Minister of the Office of the Presidency Jorge Elieser Marquez Monsalve, as well as Freddy Alirio Bernal Rosales, an agriculture minister in charge of the government-run food distribution program.
Currency controls and excessive money printing have led to a 57% depreciation of the Bolivar against the dollar in the last month alone on the widely used black market. That has dragged down the monthly minimum wage to a mere $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.
“It’s Maduro being a clown. This has no credibility,” opposition lawmaker and economist Angel Alvarado told Reuters.
“I see no future in this,” added fellow opposition legislator Jose Guerra.
Maduro blames a Washington-backed conspiracy to sabotage his government and end socialism in Latin America. On Sunday he said Venezuela was facing a financial “world war.”