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News Americas, CARACAS, Venezuela, Fri. Feb. 23, 2018: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday announced the country’s commodity-backed crypto-currency, the petro, has raised 735 million U.S. dollars on the first day of a pre-sale.

In late 2017, Maduro announced Venezuela will present a cryptocurrency backed by the world’s largest oil reserves, as well as Venezuelan gold, gas and diamond deposits, in a bid to counter U.S. sanctions that choke off his country’s access to dollars.

The country’s cryptocurrency regulator said last week that it hoped the petro would draw investment from Qatar, Turkey and other Middle Eastern countries, as well as European nations.

Maduro explained on Tuesday that each unit of the petro is equivalent to the price of one barrel of Venezuelan oil. Venezuela is to issue some 100 million petros. The total scale of the petro could exceed six billion in U.S. dollars with one barrel of oil priced at around 60 U.S. dollars.

Venezuela is currently struggling with hyperinflation, the collapse of its currency, the bolivar, and shortages in food and other basic necessities due to price controls.

Maduro has said that country’s own digital currency will serve as a means to circumvent Western sanctions. (SOURCE: CCTV)

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