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Venezuela Tying The Bolivar To Its National Cryptocurrency




In the midst of runaway inflation, Venezuela will print new money, removing five zeroes from the denominations, and tie its national currency to the recently created petro.

According to the International Monetary Fund, the Venezuelan inflation rate was 46 thousand percent last month and, if it continues on the path it's on, could exceed 1 million percent by the end of the year.

The Venezuelan government announced an initiative to address hyperinflation. The Economic Prosperity Recovery Program is set to begin August 20.

To accommodate the skyrocketing amount of cash necessary to make purchases, the government will issue new paper money with five fewer zeroes than the existing bills. President Maduro also signed a decree to remove taxes and duties on imports of raw goods.

Without giving much detail, Maduro claimed the economic plan will also tie the Venezuelan bolivar to the county's recently created cryptocurrency, the petro.

The petro, in turn, is tied to the value of oil. One petro supposedly equals the value of (but it not redeemable for) one barrel of Venezuelan oil. However, at the time of press, CoinMarketCap has the petro's value listed at less than one cent (up 24 percent from yesterday).

"The petro is going to undoubtedly make one of the stabilizing columns of the Venezuelan economy," Maduro said in the announcement.

Other governments have implemented similar plans to fight hyperinflation. Weimar Germany created a new currency pegged to (but not redeemable for) a commodity (gold, in its case).

However, there's been a great deal of skepticism about the petro's usefulness. A Brookings Institution article, for instance, asserted that the "petro cannot stabilize the Venezuelan economy and instead exists to create foreign currency reserves from thin air."

Even inside Venezuela, the petro is controversial. Several lawmakers called the cryptocurrency illegal and claimed it would not be honored once Maduro left office. However, the deeply unpopular president remains in office, having won an election in May that was widely considered fraudulent.

Tim Prentiss

Tim Prentiss has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Nevada, Reno. He lives in Reno with his daughter. In his spare time he writes songs and disassembles perfectly good electronic devices.

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