Venezuela goes digital with new ‘petro’ crypto

A brand new cryptocurrency is due to be launched this week by Venezuela.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced that the pre-sale of the oil-backed digital currency is expected to start on Tuesday.

Madura is hoping that the new digital asset will help to replenish the country’s depleted budget.

The new petro token will be limited to 100 million units, called the “MENE.”

The MENE tokens will be backed by Venezuelan oil as well as gold, gas and diamond reserves.

Venezuela aims to draw investment from Qatar, Turkey, the US and other Middle Eastern and European nations.

Crypto is the way forward

According to Venezuelan journalist and political scientist Francisco Toro, the Latin American country is turning to virtual currency as a response to sanctions from the US.

Speaking to CNBC, Toro said:

“They have been trying to figure out ways to get around anti-money laundering sanctions provisions, and crypto is maybe one way they can do that.”

“I do think that part of this is about getting investors from non-traditional lenders, from Russia and China, to put in some more money, to lend fresh cash.

“The financial sanctions — the US sanctions, the European sanctions — are not the main reason Venezuela can’t raise financing.”

Join the 21st century

President Maduro first announced the digital “petro” currency in early December 2017.

In a statement to the press, Maduro said the idea was “to innovate toward new forms of international finance for the economic and social development of the country.”

Venezuela’s leader explained that he wanted “to advance the country’s monetary sovereignty, to carry out financial transactions and to defeat the financial blockade against the country.”

Mr. Madura went on to say that his country hopes the new crypto will help them join the 21st century, saying:

“We are facing a financial war against the country which we have denounced, and the opposition has denied.

“There are business people who are unaffected by Donald Trump’s blockade.

“With this, we will join the 21st century.”