Nicolas Maduro, the president of Venezuela, has said the pre-sale of the country's proposed cryptocurrency – the "petro" – will launch next month.
Signing the petro white paper on Tuesday, Maduro stated that the initial sale of the token will commence on Feb. 20th. President Maduro also revealed that plans are being drawn up to use the petro – which is backed by commodity reserves, including oil – with a national ID card possessed by millions of Venezuelans, a Bloomberg report states.
Maduro further announced that mining centers are being setup at educational institutions to produce the token. This apprently has been revised from an initial draft proposal that the petro was supposed to be pre-mined before launch.
Maduro stated on state TV, according to Bloomberg:
The controversial token was announced back in December of last year, with the declared aim of bypassing financial sanctions.
The country's opposition-run congress soon after declared that petro is "illegal" and that it would be effectively borrowing against the country's oil reserves. As such, the move would violate laws that specify the legislature must approve government borrowing.
"This is not a cryptocurrency, this is a forward sale of Venezuelan oil," said legislator Jorge Millan at the time, calling it "tailor-made for corruption."
Additionally, on Jan. 22, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Robert Menendez denounced Venezuela's planned cryptocurrency in an open letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
The two senators wanted to know how the department would move to prevent the country from using the petro to bypass U.S. sanctions.
Nicolas Maduro image via Shutterstock
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.