Venezuela has made a major change to its policy which offered subsidized fuels to its citizen amid a shortage of fuel across the country due to American sanctions. The policy change would mean that now, Venezuelans would have to pay for the fuel which they got almost for free under subsidies of the government.
The change in policy would see the price of gasoline grow from near zero to around 5,000 bolivars per liter which is equivalent to 2.5 cents. The citizens can now pay for their fuel in fiat or the national crypto, Petro. The addition of crypto payments may look fascinating to the outside world, but it’s quite troublesome for the native as the announcement came with a catch.
The announcement cited that customers won’t be able to directly use their Petro App to make payment in national digital currency. This, however, creates quite a tricky situation, as Petro App is the only wallet compatible with the Petro. The announcement read:
“fuel purchases must be made through the available electronic mechanisms of the Patria Wallet, through the Biopago System.”
Biopago System is a biometric system created by the country’s largest bank and Patria Wallet is a government portal used for seeking welfare schemes and social benefits to its citizens.
However, this platform is not compatible with Petro, making the announcement quite redundant if the government can’t make its Patria wallet compatible with Petro. Even though this catch remains, the announcement itself helped the price of Petro by 40% across local crypto exchanges.
The price of Ptero peaked at 2.6 million bolivares which is roughly equivalent to $13 USD.
Venezuela’s Crypto Head on US Most Wanted List With $5 Million Ransom
While Venezuela made headlines for its policy change in subsidized fuel offerings, it was also in the news in the US markets as the ICE and US Homeland Security added Venezuela’s chief crypto administrator, Joselit Ramírez, on the most wanted fugitive list; with a $5 million bounty on his head.
ICE has accused Ramirez of violating US sanctions and money laundering. The agency also alleged that Venezuela’s crypto head has deep-rooted political and social ties with drug kingpins. Ramirez took over the charge of Venezuela’s crypto head in June 2018.
The US government started investigating Ramirez from the start of the year over his alleged connections with some of the most corrupt Venezuelan officials. At that time, the US government also announced a bounty of $15 million on President Maduro and other officials. However, at this time, Ramirez was not listed on the list of most wanted.