Venezuela’s economy is in trouble, thanks to the falling value of the bolivar and sanctions enforced by the US government. The country’s president wants to address the situation with a new digital currency. The Venezuelan government is pursuing a new form of digital currency, backed by oil and other mineral reserves, in order to address the collapse of the country’s economy. The Venezuelan cryptocurrency, the ‘petro,’ was announced by president Nicolas Maduro as part of a Christmas-themed television broadcast on December 3. Sanctions put in place by the US make it very difficult for Venezuelan citizens to transfer funds via international banks, and the plummeting value of the bolivar against the dollar makes online purchases from foreign retailers prohibitively expensive. The country’s currency controls have led many tech-savvy consumers to turn to bitcoin, but authorities want to offer a government-backed alternative. However, the plan has come under fire from Maduro’s opposition – not least because he failed to offer up any details of how the Venezuelan cryptocurrency will be established. “It’s Maduro being a clown,” said economist and lawmaker Angel Alvarado in an interview with Reuters. Read more here…

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