VENEZUELA: Country To Launch 'petrogold' Cryptocurrency, Backed By Gold

Nicolas_Maduro_February_2017

Also known as the Petromoneda, the release comes on the tails of continual press from both Venezuelan President, Nicolás Maduro, as well as other major outlets due to the restrictions placed on who is allowed to invest in the new crypto asset.

The petro is backed by Venezuela's crude oil reserves, the largest in the world, yet it hit the market as the socialist country sinks deeper into an economic crisis marked by soaring inflation and food shortages that put residents in lines for hours to buy common products.

According to Reuters, Maduro said in a televised address that the Petro Gold will be launched next Wednesday and will be backed by gold. Reportedly, on the first day of the pre-sale the Petro raised $735 million from investors. He added that tourism, some gasoline sales and some oil transactions could be made in petro.

The Venezuelan president has announced the plans to launch the Petro, which was initially going to be backed by gold and diamonds as well, last December. This sudden announcement doesn't help the already highly criticized Petro and the Governments intentions for creating it.

Maduro is hoping the petro will allow the ailing OPEC member to skirt US sanctions as the bolivar currency plunges to record lows and it struggles with hyperinflation and a collapsing socialist economy.

Al Jazeera's Mereana Hond has more.

"This initiative, this new South, gives us an endless range of options and opportunities in the national and global market, opening new horizons that have no limits".

Chris Burniske of venture capital firm Placeholder told Bloomberg.

Riding high on his self-deemed success, Maduro has chose to issue another state-backed cryptocurrency, called "Petro Gold". The RMG backed by the Royal Mint in Britain was first announced in 2016 and the Perth Mint in Australia is set to launch their own in the coming year.

While the United States Treasury Department has warned that Venezuelan cryptocurrencies could violate sanctions and thus create legal risk for US investors, several firms and investors from Brazil, Poland, Denmark, Honduras, Norway and the Middle East have said they are open to receiving Petro as payments for goods or investing in the currency.

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