by Kevin Helms
The first issue of Venezuela’s national cryptocurrency has been ordered by President Nicolás Maduro. He has also called for the first national meeting of the petro’s miners where he will release the whitepaper for the new currency.
100 Million Petros Incoming
On Friday Venezuela’s president Nicolás Maduro ordered the issue of the first units of the nation’s upcoming digital currency, called the petro. He said:
“I’ve ordered the issue of 100 million petros, based on national wealth. Each petro will have the value of a barrel of Venezuela’s oil.”
According to El Nuevo Herald, the issuance of these coins “will be done by virtual exchange houses that are currently in a trial period.”
In addition, the authorities in charge of the petro will convene on January 14 at the first national meeting of the petro’s miners. At that time, the new currency will be formally presented and its whitepaper released, the publication detailed. Maduro stated:
“I call for the first national meeting of miners of the cryptocurrency, the petro, for next Sunday, January 14.”
The meeting where Maduro ordered the issue of 100 million petros.
Can the Petro Really Be Oil-Backed?
Maduro first announced the creation of Venezuela’s national cryptocurrency in early December. The following week, he created the Superintendency of cryptocurrencies as well as a Blockchain Observatory to oversee the launch and operation of the new digital currency.
Soon afterward, he published an official Gazette detailing the mining, trading, and launch of the petro, as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported. He also claimed to have allocated over 5 billion barrels of crude oil to back this new currency. In addition, he has opened up a registry for any legal Venezuelan citizens to sign up to mine the petro. Registration remains open until January 21.
However, some are skeptical about Maduro’s plans. Jose Guerra, an opposition lawmaker who heads the National Assembly’s Finance Commission, believes that Maduro’s cryptocurrency would not be legal. In an interview with Abc Internacional, he claimed:
“The cryptocurrency cannot be issued with oil reserves as a guarantee. Article 3 of the Organic Hydrocarbon law of Venezuela establishes that oil reserves [can] not [be] exploited, that is to say, those that are in the subsoil and that are very abundant, cannot be placed as a guarantee of any commercial or financial operation.”