Venezuela’s Minister of Housing, Ildemaro Villarroel, has announced that the country’s government is planning to finance the construction of a large social housing project with its oil-backed cryptocurrency, the Petro.
The villas will be built as part of the country’s housing project La Gran Misión Vivienda Venezuela (GMVV), which aims to give homeless families a decent and accessible housing solution.
The project will start in the second quarter of this year, and the intention to use the cryptocurrency underpins the government’s desire to promote and advance the currency which was launched, according to its white paper, to pay for ‘taxes, fees, and public services’.
The government believes that the cryptocurrency offers benefits for the housing project and has approved 75bn bolivares and 909,000 Petros for the construction of the new homes.
Others believe the government has been trying to find various uses for the cryptocurrency to pump demand. Earlier this year, the government revealed it may charge for exports in the oil-backed cryptocurrency, and offered India a 30 percent discount on crude oil, if it paid with Petros.
Some believe the Petro undermines legitimate cryptocurrencies as its sale was essentially a way for Venezuela to bypass international sanctions and bring in foreign capital to ease the recession the country is currently enduring. According to one source the Petro has so far raised over $5bn.
However, since the launch last year, the oil-backed cryptocurrency has been declared unconstitutional by the country’s National Assembly and according to press reports President Donald Trump has banned US citizens and residents from investing in it.
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