Business 14 December 2018

Dennis Wafula

Venezuela starts paying monthly pensions in Petro: report

Venezuelan citizens are not too happy with the government’s decision to convert their monthly pensions into Petro. According to recent reports, the Venezuelan government converted the most recent pension payments into its oil-backed national cryptocurrency.

Pensioners routinely receive a notification whenever their bonuses come in. On December 7, however, the elderly reportedly received two notifications informing them that the money for the pension came in—and then immediately out, describing it as “saving in petro,” according to the Caracas Chronicles, a politics and economics-focused website based in Venezuela.

Reportedly, citizens have depended on government bonus to help them cope with the high cost of living caused by hyperinflation, which saw their savings become worthless. Initially, pensioners would visit a government-owned portal, paria.org.ve, which they would use to transfer funds to their bank accounts. The government has been using “motherland card” (carnet de la Patria) scheme to give out the bonuses, which was linked to a mobile wallet (Billetera Móvil) since January 2018.

According to report, both the Patria and Petro initiatives are efforts by the government to “fully control citizens’ finances.

The Venezuelan government has gone to great lengths in advocating the use of its oil-backed crypto ever since its launch. The government had gone so far as to order local banks to adopt cryptocurrencies. Petro was also made the official alternate currency in the country.

This new development is part of the many changes the Venezuelan president, Nicolas Maduro, has made since the beginning of this year. In April, Maduro was quoted by a local newspaper, Cuatro F, saying that the country would start charging for exports in Petro. A few months later, Maduro launched a Petro saving plan that allowed Venezuelans to save by means of certificate using the cryptocurrency.

During the same time, citizens were also informed that they would be paying for their passports using the cryptocurrency. It seems Maduro’s government is adamant in making sure the cryptocurrency is fully adopted in the country and other parts of the world. Venezuela recently offered India a 30% discount on oil if the county paid in the cryptocurrency.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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