President Maduro’s ‘Petro Cryptocurrency’ will become Venezuela’s official currency alongside the bolivar as oil-rich nation grapples with staggering economic crisis
- Maduro said the petro cryptocurrency would become a ‘second accounting unit’
- The central bank will publish an exchange rate for the petro on world markets
- It comes as new currency notes with five fewer zeroes will come into circulation
Venezuela will begin using its own cryptocurrency for the oil trade, prices and salaries in a bid to revive its struggling economy.
President Nicolas Maduro said the virtual petro currency, which was launched in February, would be a second ‘accounting unit’ for the country alongside the bolivar and would have an official exchange rate.
The change comes as new currency notes with five fewer zeroes come into circulation on Monday, with inflation forecast by the IMF to hit a million per cent this year.
Maduro said he would unveil a new salary and pricing system which would be anchored to the petro, which is backed by oil, ABC International reported.
President Nicolas Maduro (pictured) said the virtual petro currency, which was launched in February, would be a second ‘accounting unit’ for the country alongside the bolivar
The president said: ‘As of next Monday, Venezuela will have a second accounting unit based on the price, the value of the petro.
‘It will be a second accounting unit of the Republic and will begin operations as a mandatory accounting unit of our PDVSA oil industry.’
The country’s central bank would publish an official exchange rate between the petro and bolivar as well as the petro’s value in foreign currencies, he said.
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In March President Donald Trump banned Americans from using the cryptocurrency in a move to stop Venezuela using it as a way to avoid U.S. sanctions.
The executive order described the petro as an ‘attempt to circumvent U.S. sanctions by issuing a digital currency in a process that Venezuela’s democratically elected National Assembly has denounced as unlawful.’
Maduro earlier said the newly denominated currency system would reactivate the economy, with old currency notes and new ones will co-exist for an unspecified period of time.
Venezuela’s president said the country’s central bank would publish an exchange rate for the new virtual currency. Pictured: an anti-Maduro rally in Caracas
The president said Monday would be a holiday so that people can get used to the new banknotes.
The currency reforms are the latest effort to shore up the country’s struggling economy.
Gasoline is practically given away in Venezuela with the subsidy, meaning a single liter of gasoline costs a bolivar, which is next to nothing. A dollar exchanged on the black market would buy nearly five million liters.
Maduro has announced that Venezuela’s dirt-cheap fuel will be available only to people with a special government aid card that the opposition has denounced as a tool for controlling people.
People who want to keep benefiting from subsidized gas prices in this oil-rich nation must register their vehicles by Friday using the so-called ‘carnet de la patria,’ or fatherland card, which provides access to government assistance.
In May the U.S. tightened financial sanctions against Venezuela following what the Washington called a ‘sham’ election, making it harder for the government to sell off state assets.
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