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Maduro claims $735m raised by sale of new Venezuelan cryptocurrency

21/02/2018 13:02

(ShareCast News) - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro used his Twitter account on Tuesday to announce that the country has made $735m from the sale of its new cryptocurrency on the first day. The plan to launch the currency, called "Petro", was first unveiled in December and has been branded as the "big solution" to Venezuela's economic woes by Maduro. Maduro's claims followed a contraction of nearly a third in the country's gross domestic product over the course of the previous five years, amid runaway inflation, with IMF forecasts calling for Venezuela's inflation rate to reach 13,000%. In January, the Fund estimated that the cost of living in the South American country rocketed by 2,400% over the course of 2017. Underlining the plight of the country's population, a recent survey of 6,500 families by Venezuela's top universities found that 93% of respondents had insufficient money to purchase food. Maduro, who offered no evidence to support his claims, was quoted by Reuters as saying: "Today, a cryptocurrency is being born that can take on Superman." Nevertheless, some commentators wre willing to accept that the Petro - the world's first sovereign cryptocurrency - could help Venezuelans circumvent US sanctions. According to a white paper from Caracas on the currency, the Petro was to be backed by the country's oil reserves with a pre-sale running until 19 March selling 38.4m of the total 100m coins at a price of $60. The virtual currency would also be accepted as payment for taxes, fees and public services. In other Latin American cryptocurrency news, a number of cryptocurrency entrepreneurs have moved to Puerto Rico with the intention of building a crypto utopia in the hope of avoiding paying taxes on their new found fortunes. The community of investors began moving to the island after it was decimated by Hurricane Maria, and intend to start the first cryptocurrency bank.

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