The Venezuelan government is reportedly going to present its oil-backed cryptocurrency, the Petro, to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as a unit of account for oil.
According to local news outlet Telesur, the country’s petroleum minister and the president of state-run oil and natural gas company PDVSA, Manuel Quevedo, stated that Petro transactions will begin in the “first semester of 2019.”
On social media, PDVSA further revealed Quevedo claimed the Petro is the future of the Venezuelan economy, and that “growth and economic prosperity are equal to the Petro.” As CCN covered earlier this year Daniel Peña, the executive secretary of Venezuela’s Blockchain Observatory, told the Cuatro F newspaper he expected the cryptocurrency to positively impact the economy within “three to six months.”
Quevedo, while speaking at the headquarters of the National Superintendence of Cryptoassets and Related Activities (Sunacrip), an organization created to “regulate the activities that are executed by natural and/or legal persons connect to cryptoasset,” stated:
“We will use Petro in OPEC as a solid and reliable currency to market our crude in the world… We are going for growth and economic prosperity of our country giving a hand to the future since the Petro is a currency that is backed by mineral resources.”
Quevedo further emphasized the Petro is part of the country’s economic recovery plan, and as such all oil-based products are set to be commercialized in Petros. At the end of his speech, he called on all companies interested in working with him to “join his platform.”
The Venezuelan government has notably been pushing the Petro’s use. As recently reported, after bankrupting Venezuela the country’s leader, Nicolas Maduro, decided to launch a Petro savings plan that’s set to be available for 18 million Venezuelans.
The oil-backed cryptocurrency was first put for sale to the country’s residents on October 31, and can currently be purchased with cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum – but not with the country’s fiat currency, the bolivar.
Despite the government’s push, the Petro is a controversial cryptocurrency that has been criticized by the opposition in the country, and by other international organizations. CCN looked at the cryptocurrency’s whitepaper and found it appears to be a ‘blatant’ copy of Dash.
Meanwhile, Venezuelans in the country have been using cryptocurrencies to survive the government’s failures. So much so that bitcoin trading volumes in the hyperinflation-struck country recently hit record highs.