Maduro Calls on Trump to Start Dialogue

21 February, 2018, 07:50 | Author: Gary Shelton
  • Venezuela issues its own cryptocurrency to boost economy Venezuela issues its own cryptocurrency

"With this, we will join the 21st century", he said. The move could be self defeating as the supermarkets were likely to stop stocking items that had to be sold at the lower prices.

Venezuela will today begin selling its own oil-backed cryptocurrency, which the government hopes will raise more than $1bn and save the country's crumbling economy. Or will it turn out to be a South American shitcoin?

Officials say the so-called petro is backed by Venezuela's crude oil reserves, the largest in the world, though it hasn't released any details on how this will be guaranteed.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro hopes to raise foreign investments as his country faces 13,000% inflation, plus food and medicine shortages, purportedly worsened by worldwide sanctions. Maduro has also claimed that 100 million petros will be made available at a value of more than $6 billion.

The U.S. Treasury Department has warned U.S. citizens and companies that buying the petro would mean violating sanctions, putting another damper on the release. According to the International Monetary Fund, this year hyperinflation could hit 2300%.

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A pre-sale of the new "petro" cryptocurrency is to begin on February 20 according to the President. "This is a forward sale of Venezuelan oil", lawmaker Jorge Millan complained in a recent speech.

But experts are skeptical about the Petro's chances of success, pointing out that the country's deep economic imbalances will only serve to undermine confidence in the new currency.

"In terms of global investors, there are huge risks because these are barrels [of oil] that are not being developed, at all", Caracas analyst Jean Paul Leidenz tells Otis.

"Indeed, the very fact Petro is being backed by oil is somewhat questionable".

The U.S., which has already imposed sanctions on Maduro and his regime and labeled the head of state a "dictator", has also declared that it has no intention of recognizing the upcoming election. The government was prepared to release only 80 jailed anti-government activists and Maduro said all jailed activists were in prison on legitimate charges of violence and subversion. It has opened a registry for so-called "miners" who will be able to earn petros through a process of auditing online cyrptocurrency transactions.

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The future of Petro can hardly be predicted.

He has managed to hang on to power despite predictions of his demise amid Venezulea's downward economic spiral.

Maduro started bandying about the idea of Petro a year ago.

Maduro will stand for re-election in April in a ballot opposition leaders plan to boycott. But critics say the election is a farce, with Maduro's main rivals barred from standing and a compliant election body bound to favour the socialists.

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