Bogota, January 4 2018 (venezuelanalysis.com) - The Venezuelan government has opened online registration allowing people to sign up to mine its new cryptocurrency, the Petro.
The online “digital mining” portal will be up and running until January 21st and can be accessed by any legal resident in Venezuela, the government has said.
The creation of the Petro was announced in early December 2017 as a way of circumventing US sanctions on the country, as well as to combat the spiralling devaluation of the Bolivar, Venezuela’s national currency. A Cryptocurrency and Related Activities Superintendency and a Blockchain Observatory have since been established to oversee and regulate the Petro’s launch.
According to Venezuelan President Maduro, the country’s new cryptocurrency will be backed by Venezuela’s copious oil, gas, gold and diamond reserves. Venezuela was certified by international agencies as having more than five billion barrels of oil in reserve in 2012. He also told the public at the end of December that one Petro would be worth one barrel of oil, which currently averages at USD$57.
“For each Petro, a barrel of oil,” he said.
The head of state also told the public that young people signed up to the government’s youth employment plan would be offered work mining the new cryptocurrency across Venezuela’s 23 states.
“We are going to call on all of them, make a special cryptocurrency team to set up mining farms throughout the states and municipalities of the country,” said Maduro.
More than 860,000 young people are estimated to have registered in the employment programme, with more than 300,000 having already been provided with productive employment by the state.
Dozens of Venezuelans were arrested in 2017 for mining the cryptocurrency Bitcoin – several of whom were allegedly involved in illicit activities. Nonetheless, Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said that those who sign up to the government’s new digital mining system will have access to other cryptocurrencies “provided they are approved by the state”. It is still unknown whether Bitcoin trading will become legal in the South American country.
News of Venezuela’s new cryptocurrency comes on the heels of an initiative announced by the Chinese government last October in which it said the “Petro Yuan” would take the place of the dollar in international oil trading. Venezuela already divulged in September that it would no longer use the US dollar for oil contracts and payments.