Caracas, December 4: President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro has announced the creation of a new virtual currency in a bid to ease the country's economic crisis. Venezuela will create a digital currency will be backed by Venezuelan reserves of gold, oil, gas and diamonds, he said in his regular Sunday televised broadcast.
Maduro said the new crypto-currency would allow Venezuela "to advance in issues of monetary sovereignty, to make financial transactions and overcome the financial blockade". He gave no details on how, or when, the new currency would be launched. "The 21st Century has arrived!" he added to cheers from supporters.
Maduro's move away from the US dollar comes after the recent spectacular rise of bitcoin, which has been fuelled by signs that the digital currency is slowly gaining traction in the mainstream investment world. Venezuela owes an estimated $140bn (£103bn) to foreign creditors and economists suggest Maduro is looking to try to pay them with Petros as he seeks to restructure the country's debt.
Venezuela has historically relied on its oil wealth to support its economy but a decline in oil prices has sent the country into economic and political crisis.
Opposition MPs insisted the proposed currency would need the backing of Congress, and some doubted it would ever happen.
"It's Maduro being a clown. This has no credibility," opposition MP and economist Angel Alvarado told