Venezuela’s opposition-run parliament has denounced the emission of President Nicolas Maduro’s Petro cryptocurrency, calling it “totally null and void.”
The stricken country’s planned national digital currency Petro, so called because it would be notionally tied to its oil reserves, had a planned initial value of $5.9 bln, after Maduro announced 100 million units in a TV address last week:
“I have ordered the emission of 100 million petros with the legal sustenance of Venezuela’s certified and legalized oil wealth.”
According to Reuters, the value of Venezuela’s oil and fuel export basket, to which Petro was to be pegged, closed last week at just over $59.
Countering the plans in parliament however, deputy Jorge Millan ridiculed Petro as a “new act of fraud.” He told politicians during a debate,
“We find ourselves before a new kind of fraud, disguised as a solution the (financial) crisis. This incompetent government wants to compensate for lack of oil production with these virtual barrels.”
Reuters also quoted Millan as saying:
“This is not a cryptocurrency, this is a forward sale of Venezuelan oil. It is tailor-made for corruption.”
Outside commentators have placed doubt on the overall appeal of Petro should it launch as planned, due to the tenuous political situation with which Venezuela continues to struggle.
Maduro’s Socialist Party lost control of the parliament in 2016, and the opposition-controlled legislature has since worked to adamantly oppose the president at every chance.
In July 2017, Venezuela elected another, pro-government legislative body that has “virtually unlimited reach” and stripped the opposition-held parliament of most of its power.