Venezuela starts pre-sale of Petro cryptocurrency

Casey Dawson
February 21, 2018

Maduro is hoping the petro will allow the ailing OPEC member to skirt USA sanctions as the bolivar currency plunges to record lows and it struggles with hyperinflation and a collapsing socialist economy.

"My advice would be to tread very carefully with this - especially considering the track record of the Venezuelan government", said Federico Bond, co-founder of Signatura, a digital startup based in Argentina.

At the same time, the tweet of overture to Trump coincided with another major move by Maduro's government: On Tuesday, Venezuela launches pre-sales of its planned "petro" cryptocurrency, a digital currency backed by the country's oil, gold and diamond reserves. The authorities reportedly plan to set the initial price of their national cryptocurrency at $60 per one Petro.

In response to Tidd's visit, Venezuela's chief prosecutor Tarek William Saab said: "In Colombia, they are planning to revive eras that had ended in human history, like military bombing, a military invasion or the occupation, through blood and gunfire, of a peaceful country like Venezuela".

Sanctions levied previous year by Washington block USA banks and investors from acquiring newly issued Venezuelan debt, effectively preventing the nation from borrowing overseas to bring in new hard currency or refinance existing debt.

The United States has already imposed financial sanctions on Venezuela, forbidding its citizens and companies to negotiate debt issued by the Maduro government and the state oil company PDVSA.

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Maduro has also touted the petro as the fulfillment of the late Hugo Chavez's dream of upending global capitalism away from the dominance of the USA dollar and Wall Street. President of the country Nicolas Maduro brought the launch of the Petro to public notice in December.

"This is going to allow for advancements in global financing for the economic and social development of the country".

Trump "campaigned promoting non-interference in other countries' domestic affairs", Maduro tweeted, tagging the US president's account.

President Nicolas Maduro blames the United States and Western institutions for waging "economic war" against Venezuela.

The use of computers for bitcoin mining has also taken off, spurred by some of the world's cheapest electricity rates and widespread desperation prompted by a recession deeper than the U.S. Great Depression. And Venezuela's inflation rises faster in a day than that in stable countries does in a year, he said, adding that dreaming up a new currency alone isn't the answer. "The government has no plans of undertaking structural reform".

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