Venezuela to launch cryptocurrency to fight Trump sanctions

Venezuela to launch cryptocurrency to fight Trump sanctions

Maduro, who took office in 2013 and has presided over the aggravation of the socio-economic crisis, said that the cryptocurrency would help the country overcome the financial "blockade", according to a statement published on the government's official website.

However, other than that the President offered very few details. Per the Venezuelan leader the petro will help Venezuela overcome the country's financial "blockade". However, opposition leaders in Venezuela aren't convinced it'll solve the country's problems, as they say the petro needs congressional approval, and some have cast doubt on whether it will ever see the light of day, taking into account the country's situation. The real currency, the bolivar, is in freefall, and the country is sorely lacking in basic needs like food and medicine.

Maduro's pivot away from the USA dollar comes at a time in which bitcoin's popularity surges as it reached a new all-time high above $11,800.

Maduro announced the new cryptocurrency known as "petro" on his weekly national TV program Sundays with Maduro.

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The announcement came as a surprise to some of the followers of cryptocurrencies, as conventional cryptocurrencies are not backed by governments or central banks. The currency has lost 96% of its value this year.

Excessive money printing and state currency controls have contributed to a 57 percent depreciation of the bolivar against the American dollar in the last month in black markets, according to Reuters. As a result, the minimum wage per month has dropped to a meager $4.30.

For the millions of Venezuelans plunged into poverty and struggling to eat three meals a day, Maduro's announcement is unlikely to bring any immediate relief.

The leader might be looking to make payments to foreign creditors and bondholders in the cryptocurrency in an attempt to streamline the significant debt burden of the country, say opposition leaders. "This has no credibility", said opposition lawmaker and economist Angel Alvarado. On Sunday he said Venezuela was facing a financial "world war".

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