Venezuelan President Calls On Trump To Start Dialogue Between Caracas, Washington

Venezuelan President Calls On Trump To Start Dialogue Between Caracas, Washington

President Nicolas Maduro announced in early December that Venezuela - which is under sanctions from the U.S. as well as the European Union - was creating the digital currency.

Venezuela depends on crude oil exports for more than 90 percent of its foreign currency revenue.

The tokens will each be valued at and backed by a barrel of Venezuelan crude oil, Maduro has said.

President Nicolas Maduro blames the United States and Western institutions for waging "economic war" against Venezuela.

Venezuela's socialist party chief Diosdado Cabello said in radio interview on Tuesday that he proposes holding early elections for members of the country's National Assembly as well.

Launching the token, President Maduro said "Petro is born and we are going to have a total success for the welfare of Venezuela". The US Treasury Department, however, warned such investments would violate sanctions levied by Washington against Caracas, which technically prevents US banks and investors from openly acquiring petro.

Cryptocurrency experts are looking at Venezuela's foray into digital currencies with a mix of intrigue and suspicion, excited by the prospect of a government willing to accept cryptocurrency for payments like taxes but also concerned about the potential lack of oversight. With the idea of maintaining the value of the virtual currency, Maduro allocated 5 billion barrels of oil to its support.

UK Jobless Rate Rises Unexpectedly, Wage Growth Steady
This is the largest rise in the jobless total since early 2013 and the first time it has jumped since the summer of 2016. The number of people claiming unemployment benefits decreased by 7,200 in January.

Venezuela's opposition won control of the National Assembly in a 2015 landslide vote that was their biggest electoral victory in almost two decades of socialist government.

"You can not stop hyperinflation by creating a new currency and doing nothing else", Mr. Leidenz said.

Bobby Ong, the co-founder of CoinGecko, a cryptocurrency ranking website, said the sale of the petro fits into a growing trend of asset-backed cryptocurrencies as investors look for digital coins backed by real-world assets. "The government has no plans of undertaking structural reform".

The country's cryptocurrency regulator did not provide further details but, according to Reuters, 38.4% of the petros to be issued will be sold at a 60% discount.

Analysts say Maduro's government wants to bring forward the legislative poll for the same reason as the presidential election, to take advantage of divisions within the opposition coalition.

He also linked their rise with increasing American aggression on the global stage, and claimed US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's unfriendly remarks on Venezuela during his recent Latin America tour are a direct effect of the launch of petro.

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