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Maduro to pitch oil-backed cryptocurrency petro to OPEC

Maduro to pitch oil-backed cryptocurrency petro to OPEC
From Al Jazeera - February 7, 2018

Nicolas Maduro has proposed an oil-backed "joint cryptocurrency mechanism" within OPEC to support Venezuela's new, state-backed virtual currency - the "petro".

The Venezuelan president is expected to encouragemembers and non-member states of theOrganization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to back the cryptocurrency, Venezuelan state radio reported on Tuesday.

"I am going to officially propose to all OPEC and non-OPEC producing countries that we adopt a joint cryptocurrency mechanism backed by oil," Maduro said.

In December, Maduroannounced the launch of the petro, a cryptocurrency system backed by Venezuela's oil, gas, gold and diamond reserves.

The new currency is seen as part of the country's effortto alleviate aneconomic crisis and food shortages and circumvent United States sanctions.

Venezuela has allocated five billion barrels of oil to back its new digital currency, which will be tied to the cost of a barrel of Venezuelan oil.

In mid-January, the average price was $60.40 a barrel.

While petros cannot be exchanged for oil, the government said it will accept the cryptocurrency as payment for taxes and fees.

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