Venezuela will sell oil for Petro tokens instead of US dollars by next March, the country's President Maduro announced Thursday. State-run media reported that Maduro is seeking to amplify the role of cryptoassets in the industry to minimize national and international dependence on the dollar.
He told local press, "In 2019, we plan on selling [oil] in Petros and in this way we'll keep liberating ourselves from the currency of the Washington elite."
The introduction of the token, which the new national currency is pegged to, reportedly forms part of Maduro's six-year economic plan to mitigate the devastating impact of U.S.-led sanctions on Venezuela. In the fall, a group of U.S. senators moved to sanction Petro in the Venezuela Humanitarian Relief, Reconstruction and Rule of Law Act of 2018. The next stage involves setting up a platform to exchange multiple currencies into Petros, with the goal being to eventually sell all its oil products exclusively in the digital coin. The country began selling Petros to citizens in October via a government system, which the opposition has called illegal. Citizens are also now required to use the token to acquire passports.
Thursday's announcement follows Maduro's visit to Russia earlier this week, where he met with President Vladimir Putin.