Venezuela to use cryptocurrency amid US sanctions


Venezuela’s oil-backed cryptocurrency Petro entered the global markets in an effort to stabilize the country’s fragile economy affected by ongoing political crisis and U.S. sanctions. 

According to the officials, the Petro coin introduced Monday, will “neutralize” the threat of black markets and money mafias, Caracas-based TV channel TeleSur reported.

Experts said the objective is to “stop the imbalance as a result of an economic war-induced from abroad.”

“The #Petro, unlike other digital currencies, doesn’t need to be mined because it already has a value; it is shielded with Venezuelan oil and mining wealth,” said President Nicolas Maduro.

It is already present in the world’s six topmost international exchange houses and will now be accepted at a national level, he said.

Emphasizing that all Venezuelans will have access to the Petro coin to make international purchases, Maduro said it is now a legal substitute to dollars in real estate deals.

“The National Plan of Criptoactives of Venezuela will last 10 years,” he said. “This is going to be the epicenter of the development of a new economy in the country.”

Each unit of the cryptocurrency will be equivalent to 3,600 Sovereign Bolivars and will be the reference for fixing the value of work, the price of services and of consumer goods — one of the accounting units that will govern the Bolivarian nation, TeleSur reported.

Venezuela’s economy has been in precipitous decline following a global downturn in the price of crude oil, the country’s main export, while ongoing political unrest also affects the country’s financial stability.

Since the beginning of the year, Venezuela has been embroiled in political unrest as Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido engage in a power battle.

The U.S. administration has been focusing on economic and diplomatic pressure against Maduro, including imposing sanctions against him, his top officials and several governmental departments as it seeks to increase pressure on Caracas. The U.S. frozen all assets of the Venezuelan government earlier in August.

Washington no longer recognizes Maduro as the legitimate president of Venezuela, instead throwing its weight behind opposition leader Guaido whom it recognizes as the country’s interim president.

Nearly 5,000 people leave Venezuela every day because of “instability and uncertainty” amid a crisis focused on the presidency and economy, and 3 million Venezuelans have already left the country since 2015, according to the UN’s refugee agency.
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