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  • The new Venezuelan cryptocurrency Petro logo is seen in the background.

    The new Venezuelan cryptocurrency Petro logo is seen in the background. | Photo: Reuters

Published 12 April 2018

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said the digital coin is capable of “revolutionizing the global cryptocurrency.”

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said state-owned companies are free to charge for exports using the country's oil-backed cryptocurrency, the Petro. He affirmed that the digital coin is capable of “revolutionizing the global cryptocurrency” and even real estate may be purchased with it, according to the Cuatro F newspaper.

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Venezuela: Petro Cryptocurrency Reaps US$5B in Pre-Sales

Venezuela's National Constituent Assembly has approved state-owned firms, including Petroleos de Venezuela SA , or PDVSA, carrying out transactions using the Petro. They've also been authorized to start creating Petro wallets to complete the purchases.

“This means that Venezuela will be able to use the Petro to charge for oil, gas, steel, aluminum, petrochemical products, cocoa, among other goods exported by the South American nation. Likewise, the Central Bank of Venezuela was authorized by decree to collect in Petros for the export of gold from small mining and handcrafted items,” Maduro said.

The Petro, which was made available for presale on Feb. 20, is being used to counter U.S.-imposed sanctions and the economic war waged by Washington on the South American country. Maduro said the new digital coin aims to strengthen the country's "monetary sovereignty, to make financial transactions and overcome the financial blockade."

With new cryptocurrency in place, the country's productive sector linked to the nation's strategic plan will be able to carry out purchases and sale operations of raw materials through digital assets.

For its part, the U.S. Treasury Department stated the Petro is a currency with characteristics that “appear to be an extension of credit to the Venezuelan government" – a measure forbidden by U.S. sanctions - and that "U.S. persons that deal in the prospective Venezuelan digital currency may be exposed to U.S. sanctions risk."

U.S. President Donald Trump has banned U.S. citizens from purchasing the Venezuelan cryptocurrency.

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