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In the near future, Venezuela will inaugurate a youth bank backed by the controversial digital currency, petro. The gravity of this project is immense, given that the announcement was made by the nation’s president, Nicolas Maduro. The bank will squarely focus on youthful clients such as students, and will receive an initial funding of 20 million petros.

The president made the news public during a recent youth ceremony held at the state of Aragua. He stated that the state would allocate the virtual currencies, whose value is equivalent to $1.2 billon, towards the initial development of the banking institution. Maduro further added that the bank would support progressive ideas once it becomes fully operational. The president also insisted that each university should build a mining farm for cryptocurrencies, as this will significantly improve the South American country’s economy.

A Tough Start

While it is still young, things have certainly not worked well for petro, the pioneering Venezuelan digital currency. The coin was created as a result of a presidential decree, a move that drew a massive uproar both within Venezuela and from outside forces, especially the US Senate. Despite this opposition, Maduro went on to release an order demanding companies to accept petro as a means of payment.

Petro is backed by Venezuela’s vast petroleum natural resources. According to the president, citizens are encouraged to use the digital currency to pay for services and products such as fuel, air transport and tourism services. Furthermore, the government is currently planning to add petro as an acceptable method of paying taxes, permits and other public services.

As mentioned earlier, petro is subject to constant criticism by external forces particularly the US Senate. Florida senator Bill Nelson has claimed that Venezuela is using its digital currency as a subtle means to avoid the imposition of economic sanctions. Specifically, Nelson highlighted the heinous crimes committed under the current Venezuelan regime, including political repression, corruption, human right violations, and so on.

Another Cryptocurrency?

The critical reception of the petro digital currency seems to have has no impact on Maduro’s commitment to introduce state-backed cryptocurrencies to the Venezuelan economy. Barely hours after the divisive presale event for petro began, Maduro announced that plans are underway to create yet another virtual currency, known as the petro gold.

As its name suggest, petro gold will be funded by gold. This, however, remains ambiguous, as the president did not elaborate further on the matter; hence, nobody knows whether he was referring to the central bank’s gold reserves or naturally-occurring goldmines.

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