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Maduro doubles down on Petro (again)

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has once again vowed to make a success of the controversial Petro national cryptocurrency.

The leader announced it will be used for passport fees, taxes, utility bills, and more in his state of the union address on Tuesday.

Maduro also announced that all fuel sold for international plane travel must be paid in cryptocurrency.

“We’re opening a path to a new economy, to break old protocols and bureaucracies,” Maduro said.

“The crisis forced us to strengthen our creative capacity, to find answers where we didn’t have them, to seek innovative strategies to overcome difficulties and adversities.”

Maduro announced the launch of the national Petro cryptocurrency in October 2017. It was introduced to sidestep US sanctions and sales began in February 2018.

Pese a la guerra económica, en el 2019, expandimos el Sistema de Protección Social, ensayamos exitosamente con El Petro y mejoramos de forma estructural y sostenida el abastecimiento. Nos corresponde ahora relanzar la economía para garantizar igualdad y protección al Pueblo. — Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) January 14, 2020

Millions of Venezuelans have left their country since 2013 following the decline of its economy, with schools and hospitals unable to provide basic services.

According to Maduro, the government is successfully introducing its cryptocurrency into Venezuelans’ daily lives – although many experts claim otherwise.

Earlier this month, he announced Venezuela will sell oil and some of the gold it produces for Petros.

Maduro told local newspaper El Nacional: “We will sell Venezuelan oil in exchange for Petros. We already sell Venezuela’s iron ore and steel for Petros.

“We have already signed contracts for the sale of oil, steel, iron, and aluminum, and we will sell part of the gold for Petros.”

In December, the country’s authorities transferred benefits in Petros t...

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