Enter the 'petro': Venezuela to launch oil-backed cryptocurrency

Over the past year the Venezuelan bolivar has plummeted 95.5% against the dollar on the black market

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro wants his own version of Bitcoin, announcing Sunday that his socialist government will create a cryptocurrency.

Only a few details about the launch of the currency were shared by the leader.

Maduro said on his television show that the new "petrocurrency" will be backed by reserves in oil, gas, gold, and diamonds, Bloomberg reports.

Without offering specifics as to how or when the currency would launch, Maduro added it would help Venezuela "advance in issues of monetary sovereignty, to make financial transactions and overcome the financial blockade".

The announcement came as a surprise to some of the followers of cryptocurrencies, as conventional cryptocurrencies are not backed by governments or central banks.

Hyperinflation has eroded the Venezuelan bolivia's value by 97% this year, making imports incredibly expensive and causing many to abandon trust in the currency.

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Opposition leaders in Venezuela, reportedly, have rejected his idea. They said that it still required an approval from the Congress.

Everyday Venezuelans have to face long lines at cash machines to withdraw the country's currency, the bolivar, which is in short supply, the New York Times reported.

Opposition leaders outlined the bolivar, its real currency, is in freefall.

The announcement shows how sanctions enacted by U.S. President Donald Trump's administration this year hurt the country's ability to move money through the global banking system.

Avowed Marxist and member of the constituent assembly Jesus Faria has called for changes to monetary policy that would lead to free global exchange. This led the monthly minimum wage in the country down to a mere $4.3.

There is very little chance that Maduro's announcement will bring any sort of relief in the short run as several million Venezuelans are now struggling with poverty and can not even afford to eat three meals in a day. Reuters quoted lawmaker Angel Alvarado, who said that the idea has "no credibility".

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