Venezuela to create new 'petro' cryptocurrency — Maduro

Venezuela to create new 'petro' cryptocurrency — Maduro

Venezuela to create new 'petro' cryptocurrency — Maduro

President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela says his government will launch a cryptocurrency to fight what he calls a financial "blockade" by the Trump administration against the socialist-run country.

The leftist leader offered few specifics about the currency launch or how the struggling OPEC member would pull off such a feat, but he declared to cheers that "the 21st century has arrived!"

The petro, he said, would help Venezuela "advance in issues of monetary sovereignty, to make financial transactions and overcome the financial blockade".

Everyday Venezuelans have to face long lines at cash machines to withdraw the country's currency, the bolivar, which is in short supply, the New York Times reported.

Still, the announcement highlights how sanctions enacted this year by U.S. President Donald Trump's administration are hurting Venezuela's ability to move money through global banks.

The U.S. had imposed sanctions against PDVSA executives, Venezuelan officials, and the country's debt issuance.

According to Business Insider, this move is taking place against a sharp rise in the cost of the bolivar against the US dollar and weeks after the government issued a new 100,000-bolivar note.

Maduro announced the new cryptocurrency known as "petro" on his weekly national TV program Sundays with Maduro.

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Certain cryptocurrency followers were confused and surprised by the announcement of the Venezuelan leader. The currency has lost 96% of its value this year.

Currency controls and excessive money printing have led to a 57 percent depreciation of the bolivar against the dollar in the last month alone on the widely used black market.

There is very little chance that Maduro's announcement will bring any sort of relief in the short run as several million Venezuelans are now struggling with poverty and can not even afford to eat three meals in a day.

Opposition leaders in Venezuela, reportedly, have rejected his idea.

The leader might be looking to make payments to foreign creditors and bondholders in the cryptocurrency in an attempt to streamline the significant debt burden of the country, say opposition leaders.

"It's Maduro being a clown".

According to opposition leaders and economists, Maduro, who was previously a union leader and bus driver, has carelessly refused to alter Venezuela's restrictions and curtail the severe economic meltdown.

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