Introducing Venezuela’s Version of Bitcoin: The Petro

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On February 20, 2018, Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro is to launch the pre-sale of his country’s commodity-backed cryptocurrency Petro in an attempt to ease its financial transactions processes and amidst economic isolation.

Venezuela has been in an economic and political crisis for years. The situation has gone from bad to worse when both the United States of America and the European Union decided to impose sanctions on the country. Venezuela has since then been cut-off from international financing. To combat this, their current president Nicolás Maduro has announced last December that they were to come up with a new cryptocurrency Petro.

The government explained that Petro is to be backed by material commodities—the country’s gold, diamond, oil and gas reserves. The country intends to draw its investments from Middle Eastern countries but may also draw investments from the US and Europe.

Many are looking at this as a move of desperation by the president as his people are constantly suffering from food and medical shortages as a result of the Western Sanctions. Some look at it as an ingenious way to get around the financial sanctions. Many other countries may start following suit in considering making their own cryptocurrency as alternatives to their current hard currency.

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