Venezuela's Maduro Orders Top Bank to Make Petro Available to Public

President Maduro has ordered the Bank of Venezuela to open public counters for his controversial cryptocurrency, the petro.

Jul 5, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 9:24 a.m. UTC

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has ordered one of the nation's largest banks to allow customers to access to his controversial cryptocurrency, the petro.

The Venezuelan Ministry of Finance tweeted the news late on Wednesday at an event marking the tenth anniversary of the Bank of Venezuela (BoV), quoting Maduro as saying (via informal translation):

"I give the express order for transaction counters for The Petro to be opened in all Bank of Venezuela agencies."

— MPPEF (@MinEcoFinanzas) July 3, 2019

While there are no other details available so far, the move is presumably aimed to allow BoV customers to buy and deposit petros.

The move comes as the latest effort by the president to force Venezuelan institutions to boost use of his crypto pet project.

Marduro launched the petro early last year as a means to sidestep economic sanctions and has since ordered banks to use the token – which is claimed to be pegged to the country's rich oil reserves – as well as state-owned companies.

He has further mandated that payments for passports should be made in petros – a possible means of slowing the exodus of people from the troubled nation, as petros are not readily available to the populace.

The petro has also been tied to the new national fiat currency, the sovereign bolivar, and even pegged pension and salary systems to the token.

Nicolas Maduro image via Shutterstock

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