Venezuela will back its national cryptocurrency, the petro, with some 30 million barrels of crude oil sitting in the country’s storage tanks.
“I will deliver these 30 million of barrels as a liquid, physical, material backing for the petro,” Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said in a state television address on Wednesday, as reported by Reuters.
Maduro added that the oil inventories in storage tanks are available for “immediate” commercialization to back the operations of petro. He did not provide details of how the sale of inventories to back the petro would work.
The 30-million barrels figure is drastically down from 5 billion barrels announced at the time of the petro launch in February 2018. A Reuters special report late last year found that there is no proper infrastructure to get oil from those reserves.
According to data from intelligence firm Kpler, Venezuela’s oil inventories stood at 39 million barrels at the end of October.
Venezuela has been pushing hard to promote the use of petro, which is currently not listed on any major cryptocurrency exchange. Most recently, authorities said that dozens of retailers now accept petro. Reuters said it has not found evidence of any significant use of petro as a means of commercial exchange.