Oil-rich Venezuela is officially joining the cryptocurrency craze. President Nicolas Maduro has announced the date for the pre-sale of a new “petro” cryptocurrency.
The pre-sale date is February 20, and the country plans to replenish its depleted budget.
“This is the moment to accelerate the entry of the petro, to have faith in what we’ve created and in the technological and intellectual capacity of our country,” Maduro said on state TV, as quoted by Bloomberg.
“The petro will have a great impact, in how we access foreign currencies for the country and in how we obtain goods and services that we need from around the world.”
The petro cryptocurrency will be divisible into 100 million units. The units will be called the mene. It will be backed by the country’s vast oil reserves.
As Reuters reports, the Venezuelan government has been recommended to sell $2.3 billion in a private offering, with up to a 60 percent discount, in mid-February.
Critics have said that the petro is a de facto issuance of government bonds, and will face sanctions from the United States like other Venezuelan assets.
The US has already warned that “the petro digital currency would appear to be an extension of credit to the Venezuelan government.”
By issuing the petro, Venezuela plans to overcome the biggest financial crisis in its history that has lasted for the last four years and resulted in a devaluation of its national currency, the bolivar. Venezuela also wants to become a hub for blockchain technology for emerging economies.
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