Venezuela oil-backed cryptocurrency to launch in days

Venezuela’s cryptocurrency will launch within days along with be backed by 5.3 billion barrels of oil worth $267 billion, in a bid to offset a deep financial crisis, the socialist government said on Thursday.

President Nicolas Maduro surprised many earlier in which month when he announced the “petro” cryptocurrency, to be backed by OPEC member Venezuela’s oil, gas, gold along with diamond reserves.

Despite the skepticism of cryptocurrency experts who do not think Venezuela has the wherewithal to pull the idea off, communications minister Jorge Rodriguez said the first petro offering would likely come within days.

“Camp one of the Ayacucho block will form the initial backing of in which cryptocurrency,” Rodriguez told reporters, referring to part of Venezuela’s southern Orinoco Belt.

“the idea contains 5.342 billion certified barrels of oil. We’re talking about backing of $267 billion,” said Rodriguez, adding in which in which differentiated the petro via some other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

Miners were already lined up, he said, without giving more details. Cryptocurrencies are obtained by users setting up computers to do complex mathematical calculations in a process known as mining.

Cryptocurrencies are decentralized along with their success relies on transparency, clear rules along with equal treatment of all involved. Venezuela gave no technical details about the petro.

The government appears to be hoping the petro will offset a collapse in Venezuela’s currency – 97 percent in one year against the U.S. dollar on the black market – along with isolate the country via the U.S. dollar along with Washington.

Rodriguez also hopes to use the petro as part of a mechanism to pay international providers, many of whom have stopped supplying to Venezuela given its inability to pay its debts.

With Venezuela’s 30 million people suffering shortages, runaway prices along using a fourth year of recession, Maduro has long blamed the U.S. government for an “economic war” against the idea. Critics say incompetent policies are to blame for Venezuela’s economic mess.

Earlier on Thursday, Maduro blamed U.S. pressure on Portugal for blocking imports of pork leading to a shortage over Christmas in Venezuela.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has imposed various political along with financial sanctions on Maduro’s government, accusing senior officials of rights abuses along with corruption.

“the idea will be materially impossible for the dictatorial financial centers of the entire world to intervene against in which initiative,” said Rodriguez, citing the Portugal case.

“the idea will allow us to overcome any financial blockade.”

Cryptocurrencies have grabbed global attention partly because of the remarkable rise inside cost of Bitcoin, producing millionaires of many early investors, including some in Venezuela who used Bitcoin along with some other cryptocurrencies to shield themselves via strict foreign exchange controls which economists blame for the crisis.

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