/Venezuela’s cryptocurrency is about much more than its economic crisis

Venezuela’s cryptocurrency is about much more than its economic crisis

Virtual currencies were conceived as a tool for the underdog. Venezuela’s leaders are hoping to buy some independence with theirs, says Brett Scott

Venezuela president

EFE News Agency / Alamy Stock Photo

VENEZUELA is caught in a triple-pinch. Oil production is falling, hyperinflation is undermining its currency, the bolivar, and foreign reserves to pay for imports are dwindling. Against this backdrop, President Nicolás Maduro went on TV last month to encourage citizens to invest in the petro, a national cryptocurrency launched in February. Can it succeed where the bolivar has failed?

Venezuela needs to raise US dollars, but is frozen out of international financial markets after defaulting on its loans. Its answer, it seems, is to mint petro tokens and sell …

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