Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has vowed to back the national cryptocurrency, Petro, with the country’s natural resource reserves.
According to RT, Maduro made the announcement on national television, showing a document "formalizing the provision of the certified Ayacucho oil field No.1 in the Orinoco Petroleum Belt for the support of El Petro cryptocurrency."
Maduro said the field’s reserves amount to five billion barrels of oil.
“Every single Petro will be backed by a barrel of oil,” Maduro said, promising to provide cryptocurrency mining throughout Venezuela. “We will set up a special team of cryptocurrency specialists so they will be engaged in mining in all states and municipalities of our country.”
In addition, Maduro promised to allocate Arco Minero gold deposits from the Orinoco Belt, along with the country’s diamond deposits.
Petro was introduced earlier this month as a way “to innovate toward new forms of international finance for the economic and social development of the country.” Its value will be attached to the country's oil and gas reserves, as well as its mineral wealth. Maduro explained the purpose was “to advance the country's monetary sovereignty, to carry out financial transactions and to defeat the financial blockade against the country.”
“We are facing a financial war against the country, which we have denounced, and the opposition has denied. There are businesspeople who are unaffected by Donald Trump's blockade. With this, we will join the 21st century,” announced Maduro.
But the move has been met with opposition in his own country. Opposition leaders pointed out that Maduro would need congressional approval to implement Petro – which he is unlikely to get, given the perpetual strife and discord in the government of the hyperinflation-racked country.
“It’s Maduro being a clown. This has no credibility,” opposition lawmaker and economist Angel Alvarado said after the announcement.
Earlier this week, it was reported that many Venezuelan citizens are finding it hard to access basic goods and services – including medical and dental – because a growing number of merchants are demanding to be paid with American dollars.