Venezuela assembly green lights decree on cryptocurrencies

The Venezuelan parliament has enacted sweeping reforms that made the use of the country’s oil-backed cryptocurrency, Petro, legal tender—at least in Venezuela.

The Petro has had a stormy life so far. Except for Russia, the state-backed cryptocurrency doesn’t have a clear standing with the international community, with U.S. President Donald Trump banning its use in the United States. However, the outright ban has not deterred Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro from strongly pushing its use.

The decree which the parliament approved is called the Constituent Decree on Crypto assets and the Petro was eventually presented to the country’s Vice President Tareck El Aissami. In a short statement, the Superintendent of Cryptocurrency said:  “We are making history with the approval of the Decree on Crypto assets and the Cryptocurrency El Petro. Nothing can stop the impulse of our country.” The Venezuelan vice president also said that the decree is intended to establish the basis for management of such alternative mechanisms in commercial and financial activities.

According to a report in Sputnik News, the decree “will grant the power to President Nicolas Maduro to regulate the issuance, organization and operation of the Petro.” Under Maduro’s rule, cryptocurrencies will chiefly be allowed for the eventual economic of the nation and that the decree’s purpose is to allow the use and exchange of crypto assets by residents and non-residents alike.

The decree will eventually enter into force when it is published in the country’s National Gazette. Interestingly, the Venezuelan National Constituent Assembly (ANC) previously come hard down on the Petro, declaring it illegal and contrary to the country’s Constitution. Now, things have changed with the Petro belonging to the Venezuelan people, according to Maduro.

The Petro was initiated into the business world with a pre-sale before its Initial Coin Offering (ICO) with around $5 billion raised, according to the Venezuela president. So far, there is no evidence of this although Maduro did say that he is currently taking stock of the ICO’s success. Additionally, the country’s government has been very active in promoting the Petro with the Superintendent of Cryptocurrencies already issuing guidelines about the Petro to around 100 shipping agencies in the country. Ambulances have already been purchased using the Petro, according to the Health Ministry.

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