Venezuela’s Maduro Mandates Petro Use in Funding of Social Housing Project

Venezuela’s president has ordered that his pet cryptocurrency, the petro, must be used in funding an ongoing social housing initiative.

According to a news announcement on the government’s website Thursday, President Nicolas Maduro mandated that the oil-backed petro token must be used for constructing new homes under the Great Housing Mission Venezuela – a project set up by his predecessor Hugo Chaves in 2011.

The news was announced by Venezuela’s Minister for Habitat and Housing, Ildemaro Villarroel.

Villarroel said that using the petro would allow private investors to finance the construction of social housing through the stock market. Four thousand homes are planned as part of the petro payments scheme, with 4,740 already under construction, the minister added, according to Cuba’s state news agency.

Joselit Ramírez, superintendent of the cryptocurrency initiative, said that the petro is a “brilliant idea” from the president in the fight against economic sanctions.

The move appears to be another attempt by Maduro to shoehorn his controversial crypto into the nation’s economy.

The president has previously order that the petro be made available to the public by the nation’s top bank, and forced pensions to be paid out in petros, despite there being limited ways to access the value of the token.

He’s also attempted to persuade other nations to accept the petro as an alternative to the U.S. dollar in the oil markets and for global trade.

With the token openly stated to be a means of circumventing international sanctions, U.S. President Donald Trump imposed sanctions on the petro last March – soon after the token’s launch.

Nicolas Maduro image via the Venezuelan government

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