Maduro Asks Venezuelan Banks To Mine New National Cryptocurrency

February 23, 2018 9:10 pm Published by
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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is remaining firmly behind the Petro, the country’s new cryptocurrency, by encouraging banks across Venezuela to mine and use the newly launched digital currency, according to Fortune. 

However many unions say that Maduro is abusing his power through the demand.

The national coordinator of the National Federation of Public Sector Workers, Servando Carbone, said that the Petro “is an invention of the government to launder drug money.” 

Others have also commented that the scheme seems designed as a way for the country to avoid sanctions targeting the Maduro regime from the United States after President Donald Trump’s Treasury Department named several top officials in recent sanctions for their part in the crackdown against the opposition in Venezuela.

Maduro even demanded that several state-owned companies, including an oil and natural gas company and aluminum and gold products, use the Petro for a percentage of their sales and purchases in the future. 

The Petro was launched earlier this week, raising more than $735 million in its first day amid warnings from the U.S. Treasury Department, since it’s linked to individual oil reserves in Venezuela and there is no way of tracking the real price of the cryptocurrency aside from the federal government in Caracas.

Maduro plans to offer a total of 100 million Petros, with an initial starting price of $60 each using a token that allows a buyer entry into the Initial Coin Offering, for a total of around $6 billion. 

“Our country has released our first official crypto in the history of the world,” Maduro said in a nationally televised event. “It’s also the only one whose value is backed by real estate. The Petro demonstrates, today more than ever, that together all is possible.”

Maduro said that banks could build mining farms in order to increase potential benefits of their employees, but union leaders said that would not fly.

“That seems to us an abuse of power and a totalitarianism,” said Ana Yanez, the national coordinator of the National Union of Workers. “In addition, [the Petro] is a virtual currency that violates the Constitution. As workers, we disagree that this cryptocurrency is imposed on us.”

Maduro has rejected the criticism and even has plans to launch a new gold-backed cryptocurrency next week., Maureen Foody

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