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  • The Venezuelan cryptocurrency "Petro" logo is seen as Venezuela

    The Venezuelan cryptocurrency "Petro" logo is seen as Venezuela's President Maduro speaks during a meeting in Caracas. | Photo: Reuters

Published 24 March 2018

Venezuela officially launched the Petro, the first cryptocurrency backed by oil reserves, on Feb. 20.

As of March 23rd, Venezuelan citizens, companies and other interested parties can "purchase Petros (Venezuela's newly-launched cryptocurrency) on a specialized website with yuan, rubles, Turkish liras, and euros, as well as with other cryptocurrencies such as bitcoins, etherium, and NEM.”

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The announcement was made by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Thursday and has already led to increased interest from both citizens and foreign investors.

Speaking on national television, the South American head of state also announced the re-domination of the national currency, Bolivar, to help stabilize the economy.

Venezuela officially launched the Petro, the first cryptocurrency backed by oil reserves, on Feb. 20. Maduro has said the digital coin aims to combat sanctions and the "economic war" waged by the United States government and its junior partners against his country and advance "on issues of monetary sovereignty, to make financial transactions and overcome the financial blockade."

The oil-backed cryptocurrency managed to raise US$5 billion during its pre-sale. Maduro thanked Russian firm Nem, which provided logistics and ensured "the highest standards of security and quality" for Petro operations, adding that the cryptocurrency "is the best investment and the most secure you can make in Venezuela."

While the U.S. government banned its citizens from buying, selling or conducting any type of transaction with Petros, the country's president, Donald Trump, called the digital coin a “scam supporting dictatorship.”

Despite flak coming from the United States, the Petro has attracted attention from investors in several countries, including China, Palestine, Japan, Turkey, Qatar and even the United States.


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