CARACAS – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced on Sunday the creation of the Petro, a cryptocurrency “to move forward in the area of monetary sovereignty, to make financial transactions and to defeat the financial blockade.”
“Venezuela announces the creation of its cryptocurrency. It’s going to be called the Petro ... This is going to allow us to move forward to new ways of international financing for the country’s economic and social development,” said Maduro during his weekly television program broadcast on state-run media outlets.
The president said that his government will issue cryptocoins “backed by Venezuelan reserve wealth in gold, petroleum, gas and diamonds.”
He also announced the creation of a “blockchain” observatory in Venezuela which will be overseen by the Ministry of University Education, Science and Technology and will be the “institutional, political and legal basis for Venezuelan cryptocurrency.”
A blockchain is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which can record transactions between two parties in a verifiable, unalterable and permanent way.
“To get this observatory started, a multidisciplinary team of 50 people will be formed ... (who are) experts in the areas of technology, economics and finance, the law, the monetary area, and the media, among others,” Maduro said.
The head of state said that he will hear proposals from the National Association of Cryptocurrencies that, according to one of its members, portends the disappearance of the present form of money and may enable the state to sell petroleum and take payment in Petros.
The Bitcoin, the most well-known cryptocurrency created in 2009, is based on a technology created by an engineer known by the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto, whose real identity still remains unknown.
The global and decentralized system allows direct transactions between users, without intermediaries, which are – and remain – registered in a public data base.