President Maduro announces Bank of Venezuela will accept petro following national order

Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro has ordered the Bank of Venezuela to accept government-issued cryptocurrency, the petro.

According to a tweet by the country's finance minister, the bank must open petro-processing desks in all branches across Venezuela. The announcement was made on the tenth anniversary of the bank's nationalisation. The move is aimed to help popularise the petro, which officially went on sale in October, and to ensure people can start making transactions in it.

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Although at the moment the order requires only the Bank of Venezuela to open cryptocurrency desks, Maduro said private banks should follow in the future. 

The President believes the petro can help Venezuela face “the economic, financial and commercial blockade imposed by the government of the United States.” He referred to the US sanctions as “barbarism” and said cryptocurrencies can democratise the world.

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Isabel is The Block's London and European reporter. She previously reported for Reuters in Madrid and London, following on from her time as a freelance journalist for the Guardian and the New York