Venezuelan President Announces ‘Petro’ Oil-Backed Cryptocurrency

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro has announced a new cryptocurrency amid an economic crisis and a plunge in the value of the bolivar, the country’s national currency.

According to Reuters, Maduro made the announcement during a Christmas television special, stating that the as-yet-to-be-launched cryptocurrency would be backed by commodity reserves, including oil. Maduro – who took office in 2013 and has presided over a worsening socio-economic crisis and been the target of allegations of autocratic actions – said that the cryptocurrency would help the country overcome a financial “blockade,” according to a statement published on the government’s official website.

The statement reads (according to a rough translation):

“Venezuela will create a…cryptocurrency to advance monetary sovereignty, as it will help to overcome the financial blockade and thus move towards new forms of international financing for the economic and social development of the country.”

Opposition leaders in Venezuela have reportedly dismissed the idea. Reuters quoted lawmaker Angel Alvarado, who said the idea has “no credibility.”

“It’s Maduro being a clown,” Alvarado told the news service…

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