CARACAS – Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro issued on Tuesday an order to the state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) to conduct parts of its buying and selling of products in “petro,” the national cryptocurrency whose presale started shortly after midnight Monday.
“I have given the order to the companies PDVSA, Pequiven (a petrochemical company) and the Corporacion Venezolana de Guayana (CVG) so that they, as state companies, make a percentage of their sales of products in convertible currency ‘petro’ from today on,” Maduro said during the Venezuelan cryptocurrency presale announcement.
He also instructed that a series of services be paid in any kind of cryptocurrency, including the “petro,” such as “fuel and services associated with airlines” in Venezuela and “providers of national or international, public and private tourism services in the case it is necessary.”
“From tomorrow (...) we will proceed to charge, in all kinds of cryptocurrencies, especially the petro, (for) the Venezuelan fuel on the border with Colombia,” Maduro announced, referring to the gas stations along the frontier with the neighboring country.
Fees for “all consular services” at “every embassy and consulate of Venezuela” will also be collected within this new payment system, the president said.
He also authorized the Savings Banks to acquire cryptocurrencies “to develop digital mining farms (spaces) and protect workers’ savings through petro.”
The Venezuelan president announced at the beginning of December the creation of “petro,” a cryptocurrency with which he hopes to bring down the economic blockade the country faces.
This digital currency, which began its presale midnight on Monday, is backed by one of Venezuela’s oil reserves called Orinoco Belt, which holds 5.342 billion barrels of crude oil, according to official figures.
The price of “petro” is subject to the value of the Venezuelan oil price per barrel, which recently oscillated around $60.
Petro’s first issuance was expected at 100 million, but Maduro announced a few weeks ago that “the total number of petro issued in circulation during the first year will exceed 100 million.”
The Venezuelan opposition-led Congress has declared as void Maduro’s decree of the issuance of petro because it is an “illegal” currency that violates the provisions of the Constitution.