Venezuela to Launch Cryptocurrency to
Fight U.S. Sanctions
December 04, 2017
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says his government will launch a
cryptocurrency, or digital currency, to circumvent what he called a
financial "blockade'' by the U.S. government.
The new currency will be called the "petro," the leftist leader said in
his TV address Sunday. It will be backed by the socialist-run OPEC
nation's oil, gold and mineral reserves.
That will allow Venezuela to advance toward new forms of international
financing for its economic and social development, Maduro said.
"Venezuela will create a cryptocurrency – the petro-currency, the petro
– to advance in monetary sovereignty, to make its financial
transactions, to overcome the financial blockade," he explained. "This
will allow us to move toward new forms of international financing for
the economic and social development of the country. And it will be done
with a cryptocurrency issue backed by reserves of Venezuelan riches of
gold, oil, gas and diamonds."
did not give any details what the new currency's value will be, how it
will work or when it will be launched.
The government also announced the creation of a "blockchain observatory"
software platform for buying and selling virtual currency.
Opposition leaders objected to Maduro’s announcement, saying the
currency would need congressional approval. Some questioned whether the
digital currency would even be introduced in the midst of turmoil.
Venezuela's traditional currency, the bolivar, has significantly
declined in recent weeks as U.S. sanctions make it harder for the
country to stay current on its foreign debt.