Over 860,000 Venezuelans have signed up to start mining the South American country's very own cryptocurrency, dubbed the “Petro.”
Venezuela's oldest newspaper, El Impulso, reported that registration “is an essential requirement” for citizens to gain “access to the Petro.”
Venezuelan Minister of Communication and Information Jorge Rodriguez added that those who sign up will also be able to purchase other digital currencies recognized by the government.
The Registry of Cryptocurrency Miners, which was launched by Venezuela's Superintendence of Cryptocurrencies and Related Activities, will remain open until Jan. 21, and is the only portal by which mine farmers can access the new cryptocurrency.
The Superintendency, as well as the Blockchain Observatory, will regulate how the Petro functions. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has also backed the Petro with 5 billion of barrels of oil reserves, according to Bitcoin.com.
"This is going to allow us to move forward to new ways of international financing for the country's economic and social development," Maduro said during his weekly television program broadcast on public media outlets.
He added that the aim of the new digital currency is to combat sanctions by the U.S. government and its junior partners, all the while advancing “in issues of monetary sovereignty, to make financial transactions and overcome the financial blockade.”
Maduro's attempts to further throw off the shackles of U.S. dollar hegemony come amid the spectacular rise of bitcoin – as well as multiple offshoots of the cryptocurrency – which have gained traction in the mainstream investment world despite the shocks that cryptocurrencies would undergo if regulators were to begin scrutinizing them.
Cryptocurrencies typically are not backed by any government or central banks, nor are they regulated. However, the U.S. Security and Exchanges Commission has been increasingly tracking digital currencies, classing some tokens as securities, thus making them subject to oversight.
The move has raised worries that the cryptocurrencies, which analysts say is enjoying a period of massive overvaluation, could see their bubble burst rapidly in the near-term.