Manuel Quevedo, Venezuela’s minister of petroleum and the president of the nation’s oil company PDVSA, announced via Twitter that the national cryptocurrency, the Petro, would be presented to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as “the main digital currency backed by oil.”

Quevedo also claimed: 

Petro will become the digital currency of oil transactions worldwide; we will present it to OPEC, it is one of the internationalization measures of the currency.

Manuel Quevedo

Petro To “Guarantee” Economic Growth

According to Cuba’s state news agency, the Prensa Latina, Venezuela’s government intends to use the controversial Petro cryptocurrency to help market its oil by Q1 2019.

Quevedo noted that using the Petro to conduct international transactions would help revive Venezuela’s economy – which has been crippled by rampant corruption and US-led political and economic sanctions.

Venezuela’s petroleum minister added that encouraging the use and adoption of the Petro would “guarantee” economic growth for a nation that has the world’s largest (proven) oil reserves – “totaling 297 billion barrels” as of January 1st, 2014.

Investigation Reveals Petro Isn’t Used

Despite an extensive four-month-long investigation by Reuters, which strongly suggested that there was no evidence of the Petro being used in any type of transaction, Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro’s administration insists that the so-called national digital currency can be considered a legitimate medium of exchange.

The Venezuelan government has also asked companies interested in the country’s oil products to use the Petro for transactions as they claim it’s backed by Venezuela’s oil reserves, gold, diamonds, and gasoline.

Notably, Quevedo recently encouraged large multinational shipping companies and airlines to open cryptocurrency wallets so that they may use the Petro for transactions. The minister told Chinese news outlet Xinhuanet that “the gasoline for planes, ships, we will be selling it in Petros. It is the currency of Venezuela.”

As covered on CryptoGlobe, the Petro officially went on sale to locals on October 29 through a government-operated portal. Venezuela’s residents were also told to use the cryptocurrency in order to obtain passports.

Petros Sold At Massive Discount

In July, the Venezuelan government had announced that it had pegged the Petro to the nation’s fiat currency, the sovereign bolivar, which was created after the bolivar nearly became worthless due to hyperinflation. Earlier in February, the Petro’s pre-sale was launched – even though the ruling party’s opposition members had said it was a scam.

At the time, VIBE, a cryptocurrency advisory group commissioned by Venezuela’s government, had reportedly recommended that the nation’s government privately sell $2.3 billion worth of Petro at a 60% discounted price. The leaked document, which was reviewed by Reuters, suggested that “Maduro’s valuation of the nascent petro faces significant market skepticism.”