Sat | Dec 16, 2017

Venezuela unveils virtual currency amid economic crisis

Published:Monday | December 4, 2017 | 11:35 AM
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. – File Photo

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has announced the creation of a new virtual currency in a bid to ease the country's economic crisis.

He says the Petro will be backed by Venezuela's oil, gas, gold and diamond wealth.

However, opposition members of parliament have poured scorn on the plan.

Venezuela's economy has been hit by falling oil revenue and the plummeting value of its existing currency, the bolívar.

President Maduro has also railed against US sanctions which he describes as a blockade.

In a televised announcement yesterday, Maduro said the new crypto-currency would allow Venezuela to advance in issues of monetary sovereignty, to make financial transactions and overcome the financial blockade.

He gave no details on how, or when, the new currency would be launched.

The move follows increasing global interest in the crypto-currency Bitcoin.

Venezuela owes an estimated $140 billion to foreign creditors and economists suggest Maduro is looking to try to pay them with Petros as he seeks to restructure the country's debt.