Venezuela Launches El Petro Oil-Backed Cryptocurrency

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Maduro has repeatedly said that his country is the victim of an "economic war" - prompted by financial sanctions imposed by the United States - and that the sale of the new digital currency will help the country circumvent this problem.

"Legislative power does not exist here in Venezuela", Cabello said of the National Assembly, comparing it to a "dinosaur".

The president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, officially launched the Venezuelan cryptocurrency, Petro, on the national and global markets, as well as the issuance of certificates for the exercise of digital mining, which allows financial and commercial transactions.

But the U.S. Treasury Department has thrown a damper on the release, warning U.S. citizens and companies who buy the petro that they could be violating sanctions.

"Today, a cryptocurrency is being born that can take on Superman", Maduro was quoted as saying by Reuters, referring to the way of the comic book character.

Raising further doubts, Maduro has said that the undeveloped Orinoco oilfield will back the digital currency, creating no tangible barrels of oil that investors can cash in, said Jean Paul Leidenz, a senior economist at Caracas-based EcoAnalitica. And Venezuela's inflation rises faster in a day than that in stable countries does in a year, he said, adding that dreaming up a new currency alone isn't the answer. "The government has no plans of undertaking structural reform".

The official website published a guide to setting up a virtual wallet in which to hold the cryptocurrency, but did not provide a link for actually doing so on Tuesday.

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The cryptocurrency will attract investments from Turkey, Qatar, the US, Europe, the country's crypto-currency regulator, Carlos Vargas, the government's cryptocurrency superintendent, told reporters.

For months the opposition has tried to negotiate more favorable terms with the government through a series of meetings in the Dominican Republic, as part of an worldwide effort to remedy the country's political stalemate.

Despite worldwide isolation, broad unpopularity and scarce food and medicine in the country, Maduro has strengthened his hold on power by sidelining the opposition and excluding it from recent local and state elections.

Opposition leaders are already expected to boycott the April presidential poll, because they believe it is rigged to ensure Maduro's re-election despite his unpopularity and a crushing national economic crisis.

"We are in the technological and economic vanguard to overcome the speculation of worldwide currencies that affect the lives of Venezuelans".

CoinDesk highlighted some of the contradictory details regarding the token - while one documents talks about Ethereum network, another cites NEM blockchain.