Venezuela’s much-maligned “petro” cryptocurrency could be joined by another, similar venture if the country’s leader, Nicolas Maduro, gets his way.

According to a report from Al Jazeera, which cited a local radio broadcast, Maduro plans to propose that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), of which Venezuela is a member, to adopt a common cryptocurrency.

“I going to officially propose to all OPEC and non-OPEC producing countries that we adopt a joint cryptocurrency mechanism backed by oil,” the news service quoted Maduro as saying. He reportedly made remarks during a Tuesday meeting with OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo.

Late last year, Maduro unveiled the proposal, which would be backed by commodity reserves including oil and precious stones. The concept has been blasted both within Venezuela and abroad, including U.S. lawmakers like Senator Bob Menendez, who has raised concerns that the South American country will use it to avoid financial sanctions.

Opposition lawmakers in Venezuela have also cried foul over the proposal, with one calling the move “illegal.”

“This is not a cryptocurrency, this is a forward sale of Venezuelan oil,” legislator Jorge Millan was quoted as saying by Reuters at the time.

Maduro announced at the end of January that the cryptocurrency’s launch would be preceded by a token sale.

Image Credit: Slavko Sereda /

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