Venezuela's government plans to launch its own cryptocurrency, backed by the country's considerable oil assets, as early as this week.
The country's government claims that it will launch in days, backed by 5.4 billion barrels of oil, valued at $267 billion.
According to CNBC, the cryptocurrency will be called the "Petro". In addition to the backing of the country's oil, gas industries, it will also be backed by the country's diamond and gold reserves.
The move comes against a backdrop of economic tumoil largely instigated by the government's own economic policies.
The country's leader, President Maduro, has suggested that the cryptocurrency will help stabilise the country's currency following several years of hyper-inflation.
Cryptocurrency and other experts, though, have slammed the country's plans. Maduro's communications minister Jorge Rodriguez is optimistic.
"Camp one of the Ayacucho [oil] block will form the initial backing of this cryptocurrency," he told reporters, referencing an oil field in Venezuela's southern Orinoco belt.
Rodriguez added that the Petro will be different to other blockchain-based digital currencies, such as Bitcoin - although he didn't go into details. "It contains 5.342 billion certified barrels of oil. We're talking about backing of $267 billion," he claimed.
The move comes following a currency collapse of 97 per cent against the US dollar over the past year, while the shops have become increasingly bare of essentials, such as toilet paper, as a result of central government attempts to fix prices.
Rodriguez said the government will use Petro to pay for goods on world markets.
"It will be materially impossible for the dictatorial financial centers of the world to intervene against this initiative," said Rodriguez. "It will allow us to overcome any financial blockade."
While Venezuela's president suggests that the backing of the cryptocurrency with hard assets will give it balast, cynics have suggested that it's little more than another way for Venezuela's rulers to loot the impoverished country.
The daughter of former president Chavez is said to be one of the richest people in the world, while the country's state-owned oil monopoly, PDVSA, has seen output fall as a result of almost two decades of political interference and under-investment.
The government has responded to its plummeting popularity by banning the three main opposition parties from contesting the presidential elections scheduled to be held later this year.
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