Venezuelan Minister of Petroleum Manuel Quevedo stated on Wednesday that Venezuela will present it’s national cryptocurrency – the Petro – to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as a unit of account for the trading of crude oil in 2019.
The move was announced via the twitter account of the state oil company, PDVSA. It’s not clear specifically when Venezuela will make this representation and deliver this intention to OPEC. The next scheduled meeting of OPEC members takes place in Vienna, Austria on December 6. The organization has not as yet set out an agenda or schedule of events for 2019.
“We will use Petro in OPEC as a solid and reliable currency to market our crude in the world.”
Quevedo claimed there were already projects for the sale of Venezuelan oil for Petro on a number of trading floors. He also suggested that the national cryptocurrency is a key component of the Venezuelan government’s efforts to bring about economic recovery to the inflation ravaged South American nation:
“We are going to achieve growth and economic prosperity for our country since the Petro is a currency backed by mineral resources.”
He called on companies with a requirement to acquire Venezuelan oil products to embrace the new Venezuelan cryptocurrency platform.
It’s clear that the Venezuelan government are pushing the Petro towards adoption. Week on week, there appear to be further measures being taken by the administration to bring about it’s active use.
The Petro was launched in February and whilst the authorities suggested that it had garnered $735 million on the first day of sale, it’s unclear who the buyers were. There has been much speculation that Venezuelan ally, Russia had bought a considerable amount of the cryptocurrency at that initial stage. As well as being aligned politically, both nations are currently the target of economic sanctions largely at the behest of the United States. It would appear that evading sanctions is one of the key objectives the Venezuelan administration have in mind when it comes to the Petro.
In August, Venezuela overhauled it’s national currency, replacing it with the Sovereign Bolivar. At the same time, the government instructed that the Petro be regarded as an official unit of account within the country.
October saw a change in state processes relative to the issuing of passports within the South American economic crisis hit nation. This policy set out that citizens could only get a passport issued or renewed if they paid the passport fee in Petro cryptocurrency. It’s understood that the objective of this move was two fold. In the first instance, the administration wanted to make it more difficult for Venezuelan’s to leave the country – amidst a backdrop of the greatest mass migration in South America in recent years. Secondly, it was motivated by a desire to induce further take-up and active use of the state cryptocurrency.
More recently six cryptocurrency exchanges have been authorized to trade the cryptocurrency within Venezuela. The digital currency is also available through Sunacrip – The National Superintendency of Crypto-assets and Related Activities. This sale of Petro in exchange for other cryptocurrencies and FIAT began on October 29.
Last month, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced that in the near future, workers bonuses would be denominated in or based upon the Petro. He also encouraged citizens to place their savings in the national cryptocurrency. In line with that policy, on Monday Venezuela’s Minister of Industries and National Production, Tareck El Aissami announced a savings and investment plan which will be based upon the Petro.