The Venezuelan Government has claimed that it raised $30 billion by selling its oil-backed “petro” cryptocurrency to investors worldwide.
Venezuela is the first country to create a state-backed cryptocurrency. Maduro launched the pre-sale of El Petro (PTR) on February 20 to ease the country’s economic crisis, and circumvent U.S.-led sanctions.
171,015 certified purchases from 127 countries were made so far, President Nicolas Maduro said in an address that was telecast nationwide on the state-run Telesur news channel. He was quoted as saying that the amount will be used to cover the financial needs of the country.
Venezuela’s government sponsored Correo del Orinoco newspaper reported that the countries include Germany, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Qatar, China, South Korea, Denmark, United Arab Emirates, Spain, United States, Philippines and France.
The investors included 3,523 companies and 83,761 individuals.
The President said 40.8 percent of the offers were placed in U.S. dollars; 33.8 percent in bitcoins; 18.4 percent in ethereum; 6.5 percent in euros and 0.2 in yuans.
Maduro said, “The Petro will influence the future of the economy, production, commerce and finances in our region, in South America and the Caribbean.”
The government is issuing 100 million “oil-backed” Petro units, valued at more than $6 billion. Out of this, 82.4 million is available for pre-sale until March 19.
Venezuela, which has the world’s largest proven oil reserves, has allocated five billion barrels of oil to back Petro.
Venezuela’s economy has been reeling under pressure of the US sanctions, falling oil revenue and the plunging value of its currency, the bolivar.
Meanwhile, Maduro announced 58 percent increase in minimum wage.
It comes a day after the government agreed on “electoral guarantees” for the forthcoming presidential elections with a number of opposition parties. The election has been postponed to May 20.