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Venezuela's Oil-Backed Cryptocurrency Declared Illegal

The Venezuelan parliament has declared the oil-backed cryptocurrency created by President Nicolas Maduro illegal and in violation of the country’s Constitution. Maduro’s decree to create the national cryptocurrency, the petro, has been declared null and void.

Also read: South Korea Urges 23 Countries, EU, and IMF to Collaborate on Curbing Crypto Trading

Venezuelan Parliament Declared Petro Illegal

The National Assembly of Venezuela on Tuesday declared the country’s upcoming oil-backed cryptocurrency, the petro, illegal. Venezuelan parliamentarians unanimously voted “absolute nullity on the issuance of the petro cryptocurrency,” El Universal reported and quoted Deputy Carlos Valero announcing:

This Assembly tells the world that the cryptocurrency the government wants to issue is illegal, and this parliament will come out in front to prevent public opinion [from] falling into that trap.

Deputy Williams Dávila added that the parliamentarians denounced the petro, asserting that the government only wants “to evade financial sanctions, openly violating the Constitution, and legitimizing illicit transactions.”

Venezuela's Oil-Backed Cryptocurrency Declared Illegal
National Assembly meeting.

The Petro Stalled Just Before Launch

Venezuela's Oil-Backed Cryptocurrency Declared Illegal
Nicolas Maduro.

The creation of Venezuela’s national cryptocurrency was first announced by Maduro in early December, as news.Bitcoin.com reported. Since then, he has assigned over 5 billion barrels of crude oil to back this new currency as well as securing miners for it. On Friday, he moved forward with the order to issue 100 million petros and promised to release its whitepaper on January 14. According to Maduro’s plan, “The petro’s price is initially to be pegged to the value of Venezuela’s basket of oil and fuel exports, which last week closed at $59.07,” Reuters described.

However, legislators warned investors that even if this new currency successfully launches, it would be seen as null and void when Maduro is no longer in office. The president is up for re-election this year.

Furthermore, some doubt that the petro would be a real cryptocurrency. Venezuelan legislator Jorge Millan was quoted by the publication:

This is not a cryptocurrency; this is a forward sale of Venezuelan oil…It is tailor-made for corruption.

Following the National Assembly’s announcement, Maduro “called on the people to actively repudiate” the Assembly’s decision to declare the petro illegal, Prensa Latina reported.

According to Reuters, “Maduro has routinely ignored the legislature since his party lost control of it in 2016.”

Do you think Maduro will find a way to launch the petro? Would you invest in it if he does? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Associated Press.


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Tags in this story
Bitcoin, Crude Oil, crypto, Cryptocurrency, Decree, el petro, Government, illegal, N-Featured, national assembly, national cryptocurrency, Nicolas Maduro, oil backed, parliament, Sanctions, state-owned, state-sponsored, the petro, Venezuela, venezuelan, Virtual Currency
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Kevin Helms

A student of Austrian Economics, Kevin found Bitcoin in 2011 and has been an evangelist ever since. His interests lie in Bitcoin security, open-source systems, network effects and the intersection between economics and cryptography.