After the launch of the Venezuelan government-backed cryptocurrency the Petro on Feb. 20, President Nicolas Maduro has already hinted at second government cryptocurrency soon to be released, according to government-sponsored news outlet TelSsur.
This time, the government-backed cryptocurrency will be backed not by oil, but by gold. During a Patria Para Todos [Fatherland For All] party event at the National Theater in Caracas, Maduro announced,
“The petro is a cryptocurrency unique in the world that is supported by oil, and I have a surprise that I will launch next week, the Petro Oro [gold], backed by gold, even more powerful.”
Since the petro’s Initial Coin Offering (ICO) opened on Feb. 20, $735 mln has allegedly been raised, according to Maduro’s Twitter. No official numbers for the ICO had been released by press time.
A grandes problemas, ¡grandes soluciones! Desde el primer minuto el juego arrancó bien, y arrancamos ganando: 4.777 millones de yuanes o 735 millones de dólares es el resultado inicial de las operaciones de intención de compra del Petro. #AlFuturoConElPetro pic.twitter.com/LoaDgj4rr1— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) February 21, 2018
Some Venezuelans on Twitter have used the hashtag, “#AlFuturoConElPetro,” [the future with the petro], to support the release of the coin. User José David Cabello R wrote,
“#AlFuturoConElPetro against any meddling, against the economic war, against the blockade. For the peace and Venezuela.”
#AlFuturoConElPetro contra cualquier injerencia, contra la guerra económica, contra el bloqueo. Por la Paz y Venezuela— José David Cabello R (@jdavidcabello) February 20, 2018
Before the launch, foreign investors from Brazil, Poland, Denmark, Honduras, and Norway had reportedly said they were open to receiving the petro, which is backed by one barrel of oil per coin, for goods and services.
Venezuela is currently facing hyperinflation of more than 4,000 percent in the last year, with the national currency, the Bolivar, having lost around 96 percent of its value.
The president’s decision to launch a cryptocurrency was at odds with the views of the country’s opposition-backed parliament on crypto, which declared the petro an illegal currency on Jan. 9. Critics in parliament see the petro as a way for Maduro to avoid the financial sanctions imposed by the West on Venezuela.