Venezuela’s cryptocurrency will launch within days and be backed by 5.3 billion barrels of oil worth $267 billion, in a bid to offset a deep financial crisis, the socialist government said on Thursday. President Nicolas Maduro surprised many earlier this month when he announced the “petro” cryptocurrency, to be backed by OPEC member Venezuela’s oil, gas, gold and diamond reserves. Despite the skepticism of cryptocurrency experts who do not think Venezuela has the wherewithal to pull it off,

communications minister Jorge Rodriguez said the first petro offering would come within days. “Camp one of the Ayacucho block will form the initial backing of this cryptocurrency,” Rodriguez told reporters, referring to part of Venezuela’s southern Orinoco Belt. “It contains 5.342 billion certified barrels of oil. We’re talking about backing of $267 billion,” said Rodriguez, adding that that differentiated the petro from other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. READ MORE