CARACAS, Venezuela, Friday January 19, 2018 – Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro says 2018 will be the year of the consolidation of Petro – which he described as the first cryptocurrency supported by the natural and mineral resources of a country, with the aim of overcoming the financial encirclement applied by the great powers.
“This year we are focused on consolidating the Petro startup. We have taken all the steps that have to be taken so that it will be at a national and global level,” he said on Monday in his annual message at the Federal Legislative Palace.
“The consolidation of the cryptocurrency, the Petro, will be the center of the financial policy of this 2018,” he added, urging the Venezuelan society to join the movement.
The Head of State emphasized that the cryptocurrency will be backed by the nation’s oil wealth, and will have the value of a barrel of Venezuelan crude oil.
“Each Venezuelan petro is going to have the support of a barrel of oil. Fortunately, the barrel of oil is roughly at US$60…The petro will have the base value that the Venezuelan oil barrel has,” Maduro said.
“With the rules of the game of the cryptocurrency system, we are sure that the price variables of our petro will oscillate upwards.”
Venezuela is seeking to take advantage of global enthusiasm for blockchain-based assets such as Bitcoin and help lift its economy out of one recession, amid a crippling shortage of hard currency.
It intends to issue 100 million petros, with about 38 million going to institutional investors in a month-long private pre-sale set to begin February 15, according to Bloomberg News. The currency then would be sold to individuals.
The Venezuelan government plans to pay public workers in the digital token and to use tax incentives to encourage its use.