The retirees and pensioners of Venezuela will receive a Christmas bonus in the form of their controversial national currency, the Petro.
News and research agency Venepress tweeted the announcement on Nov. 17, indicating that the “good tidings” were initiated by President Nicolas Maduro. Translated to English, the tweet read, “#EnDesarrollo Maduro announced ‘Christmas bonus’ for retirees and pensioners of Petro (at today’s price would be Bs. 897,317.27) #17Nov.”
The troubled South American country has been using the cryptocurrency since its launch in February 2018. And last year, as Cointelegraph reported, the country did the same thing with the bonuses — they converted them to Petro.
The Petro is the first state-backed cryptocurrency in the world, and its main purpose is to salvage the economically saddled country from its deepening crisis. The country’s last 2018 inflation rate was 130,060.2% and is estimated to cap off 2019 with a whopping 10,000,000%.
It was said that the Venezuelan crypto would be on the Ethereum blockchain, but there were many alterations to that, as well as an accusation that Petro plagiarized the documentation from DASH. Maduro also said that oil and other reserves would back the crypto.
In its white paper, it states: “The petro will be an instrument for Venezuela’s economic stability and financial independence, coupled with an ambitious and global vision for the creation of a freer, more balanced and fairer international financial system.”
However, the Petro is seen as a mere medium to get around the sanctions imposed by the U.S. and receive international financing.
27,000 ‘Affiliated Businesses’
There are also questions regarding the adoption of Petro. In 2018, Reuters reported that there was no presence of Petro in the oil-abundant town of Atapirire, with a certain resident, Igdalia Diaz, saying, “There is no sign of that Petro here.”
But this year, as recently as Monday, Maduro claimed that there are already 27,000 “affiliated businesses” with Petro. Also, last month, according to Crypto Globe, Petro is accepted as payment for at least 93 stores.
Whether Maduro’s push for a wider Petro adoption is working or just a brash attempt to stir interest in the crypto is unknown at this point.