Monday, 15 October, 2018

First Public Offer of Venezuelan Cryptocurrency Begins

Oil tanks are seen at an oil warehouse at Yangshan port in Shanghai Oil tanks are seen at an oil warehouse at Yangshan port in Shanghai China
Charlie Simmons | 22 March, 2018, 01:48

The government in Venezuela, led by President Maduro, has been pitching petro as one of the key instruments to boost the country's crumbling economy, which has found itself at the receiving end of severe hyperinflation and devaluation for years.

The Petro, which was made available for presale on February 20, is being used specifically to counter US -imposed sanctions and the economic war waged by Washington.

The Venezuelan president came out strongly yesterday against U.S. President Donald Trump's decree prohibiting "all transactions" with "any digital currency" issued by the Venezuelan government, alluding to the Petro.

Diosdado Cabello, the powerful vice president of the ruling socialist party, accused "Emperor Trump" of trying to extend the financial "blockade" of Venezuela.

Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, who has repeatedly called for action against the petro, said he welcomed the new sanctions, but added that the "international community must continue coordinated efforts to increase pressure on the Maduro regime".

"It's not going to be easy to execute", Cabello said in a press conference in Caracas.

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Trump and other critics have claimed the Petro, backed by Venezuela's oil reserves - the largest in the world - is unreliable.

Trump described the February launch of the Petro cryptocurrency as an "attempt to circumvent USA sanctions", according to a White House statement announcing the order.

Now the Petro is propped up by Venezuela's extensive crude oil reserves. Maduro's communique says that these sanctions violate the United Nations charter agreement, Venezuela's sovereignty and represent a "new imperial aggression imperial and intensify the ... economic ... attack on Venezuela".

As reported previously, Venezuelan president first announced the 'Petro', a digital currency backed by Venezuela's massive oil reserves as a means to combat United States sanctions and the financial blockade, earlier in December. Venezuela's currency, the bolĂ­var, has suffered from hyperinflation as a result of government mismanagement and United States sanctions.

The USAID announcement follows a visit by the former Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson to Colombia, where he met with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to discuss Plan Colombia and the crisis in Venezuelan.

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