Nicolás Maduro, president of Venezuela, a country suffering from record levels of hyperinflation and rampant corruption, says that the South American nation will be selling oil and part of its gold it produces for Petro, the highly controversial national digital currency.
In statements shared with local news outlet El Nacional, Maduro noted:
“We will sell Venezuelan oil in exchange for petros. We have already signed contracts for the sale of oil, steel, iron and aluminum, and we will sell part of the gold for petros.”
Maduro claims that the government of Venezuela has managed to successfully introduce the Petro cryptocurrency into the day-to-day lives of its residents. He added that around 6 million Venezuelan families used Petro to pay for everyday goods and services this past New Year holidays.
The #PetroApp hashtag had been trending on January 2, 2020, on Twitter in Venezuela.
Petro was first introduced in October of 2017, and the cryptocurrency’s sales reportedly began in February 2018. Russian news agency TASS says that the price of one Petro has been fixed at the market price of one barrel of oil in Venezuela (WTI crude price is presently at about $63).
The Petro is supposedly pegged to the price of oil, Maduro claimed. He also noted recently that the country would back the national digital currency with around 30 million barrels of crude oil, which is kept in the nation’s storage tanks. Notably, this figure is significantly lower than the 5 billion barrels of oil announced when the petro was introduced in February 2018.
A four-month-long extensive investigation conducted by Reuters in 2018 reportedly found no evidence of the petro being used by Venezuelans in day-to-day transactions.